The Sands of Time

All day long I dig new plots out of the lawn.
Tane fills his trucks with the dusty volcanic soil.
We give and take time with each load we shovel.

We unearth bottles, broken crockery, rusted bolts
And raise each one, like a Eucharist, into the light of today.
We do not measure out our lives with coffee spoons

He finds a soft-shelled nymph cicada.
I tell him the cicada has been underground for five years
Learning its week-long song.

He does not understand this, nor that I
Have tunnelled longer and deeper than any cicada
To learn my songs for Tane.

Spending time is what grandmothers do.
What we spend our time doing is immaterial.
How shall we spend tomorrow, Tane?

Yesterday my old bony ridge of a foot
Swelled up after I trod on a bee.
Fat toddler toes now loll against a bolster of flesh.

There’s always a sting in time’s tail.



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