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The Clock on the Edge

I clear away the detritus

of knick knacks obscuring

the titles, I even up spines

and pull out ephemera.

I leave only a small clock

on the edge, under Robert

Lowell’s collected poems,

when I neaten my shelves

and peer through my books again.

I’ve slipped them out and slid

them back in by the hundreds,

as the years tipped by

like dominoes. My forty-eighth

is about to tip now.

I need to know what will

emerge from this project -

the near silence of words

which moves through my head,

haphazard as a gusty wind

that flips my hair around

and ruffles my clothes,

on a damp grey day

like this one.

paul white

A Footbridge in Childhood

From here on the footbridge

dry leaves race out of sight

poised and curled

on the shiny water

which streams underneath.

This flow wrenches light

in grooved streaks,

it breaks into a froth

as the buoyant leaves

dodge and swoop.

We are only children here

in the afternoon.

The day is roaring forward

through time

at an angle of light

as the calm planet turns.

For this is a childhood game

of dropping dry leaves

by their stiff pips

into the stream below.

We watch them race

out of sight in the slow distances.

My leaf, your leaf, arriving.

Our cheers of glee and victory

break the quiet air like ice

in this forest of fracturing light.

paul white

How to get your poetry in Artvoice

Literary Buffalo occasionally features poetry by local writers. The poetry editor is Florine Melnyk. Submissions of no more than five poems and no more than 10 pages in length can be sent by e-mail to or by mail to Florine Melnyk, Poetry Editor, Artvoice, 810 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14202 Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope to have manuscripts returned.

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