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Crossing the Days

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My son's been learning time: big hand
and little, powers of sixty
and of twenty-four, the slow semaphore
of days. He's brought home paper plates
from kindergarten, arrows pointing
at his favorite hours. So far
the face of every clock has smiled.

And before we read to sleep each night
he crosses off another square
on the calendar above his bed,
counting down to Christmas or to nothing
in particular, sometimes just a line
he draws uphill or down, check marks
like the ones his teacher leaves

on sheets he's filled with capitals
and lower cases, other times a pair
of thick lines like the crossed bones
on a pirate's flag, an X
as if to mark the treasure buried
in some ordinary week,
no day yet a cross to bear.

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the December 2002 issue of Poetry magazine

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Crossing the Days

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