When Time was no longer fixed,
hands went counterclockwise,
and cuckoos came out at all hours.
were no longer measured
game show contestants,
work, by hours,
school, by days,
pregnancies, by weeks,
seasons, by months,
marriages, by years.
It was a new era—
this time after time.
There was no more
Yesterday, Today, or Tomorrow,
but only Now.
Incarceration verdicts were no longer
doled out in years, but in signs:
“When the hair turns gray or falls out,
or Alzheimer’s has come to call.”
Bakers gained a certain intuition,
knowing just the right “now” to take
the cookies from their ovens.
Dinners were served when hungry,
and bedtime was when the dark
dropped like a velvet curtain over the sun.
Work was done when it needed to be done,
and wages were measured in customers served,
in work completed,
rather than by the relic of a time clock.
Television programs came on at all hours,
and shopkeepers only knew when to close
by where the sun happened to be.
One only felt old by a hard look in the mirror,
the creaks in their joints,
the ticks of their biological clocks slowing,
but not by birthdays passed.
No longer was someone told however long
they had to live—
but rather, just to live till they were no longer.
Everyone adjusted to a new way of life,
of measuring life by experiences—
not time served,
or time wasted,
or time killed.
It was in ways like these
that every day became a surprise.
*An ekphrastic poem is based on a piece of art. “When Time Became Fluid” is based on my favorite painting, Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory.