The tinkling bell of the neighbor’s clock
strikes behind the wall: eleven.
Only at night can it be heard.

Even the ticking of our own clocks
fades by day in the noise of children
and adults, calling from room to room.

Time passes without notice, until
it’s time to sleep. The children whine;
we just sigh and long for bed.

But then the children, once tucked in,
quickly slip away, while we
linger even after chores are done.

And when we finally settle in,
we hear the ticking and the tinkling,
and wait for sleep to silence them.

Andrew Shields lives in Basel, Switzerland. His book Thomas Hardy Listens to Louis Armstrong was published by Eyewear in July 2015. His band Human Shields also released an album in 2015, Somebody’s Hometown. You can find him online on Facebook and Bandcamp.

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