from The Book of Time

A List by Michael Bazzett

1. (12:00 a.m.) A great deal hinges upon this point in time, yet in actuality it is not a point but a flutter, a quiet sigh where today’s lips gently brush against those of tomorrow. The effects of this can be observed on mourning doves, who visibly shudder at its passage.

2. (2:43 p.m.) Heraclitus once observed that this particular moment was “harder to kill than a rat with a rock.” Despite the way it reclines, apparently inert, in the slack hammock of an eternal afternoon, it is composed largely of gristle.

3. (11:14 p.m.) This minute passes with tremendous exactitude, year in, year out, performing its sixty seconds with the piston-like reliability of a Bosnian porn star in spite of our general fatigue & wine-soaked oblivion.

4. (7:42 a.m.) It comes, then goes. Were it a punctuation mark, it would be the dash, as experts have never conclusively determined whether it ultimately wants to separate or connect.

5. (10:59 a.m.) Pope John XXIII once observed 10:59 ante meridian to be his favorite moment of the day, intoning in a papal bull that it is “better to anticipate than arrive” and though eleven o’clock might invoke the perfect ripeness of a plum, “yearning for the honey is totally money.” 

6. (6:42 p.m.) This is not a passing moment, but a panther, a feline apparition that is rarely seen, given how deftly its camouflage melts into dappled shadow. It emerges as the sun wheels on its dusky hinge, then stalks us out of curiosity intermingled with appetite.

7. (4:13 a.m.) Here we have the quiet student who fades unremarkably into the background, whom you struggle to recall years later, even after seeing the disturbing headline, the grainy photograph, the feral stare, groping to understand the pain that must have always been there.

8. (1:12 p.m.) Remarkably, no world leader has ever been photographed at this instant, in any time zone. When this was brought to light in a tour-de-force of investigative journalism at Le Monde, in 1974, the paparazzi protested by photographing statutes of public figures.

9. (3:33 p.m.) You might recall that this rogue moment was outlawed in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1888. Riots bloomed like red flowers in the marketplace.

10. (0:00 p.m.) This mythical creature roves the margins of time-study circles like a hulking shadow in the temperate rain forest. It has fueled the sagas of native populations for centuries. Only its footprints have been observed.

Michael Bazzett’s poems have appeared in West Branch, Beloit Poetry Journal, Best New Poets, Green Mountains Review, DIAGRAM, and The Literary Review, among others. His work was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. New poems are forthcoming in Carolina Quarterly, Bateau, The COLLAGIST and Gulf Stream. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two children.