“The clock had run down…”

new england sunsets (fall 2011)

new england sunsets (fall 2011)

That was it, he realized; the clock had run down. All of the clocks in the room had wound down- the tambours and carriage clocks on the mantel, the banjo and mirror and Viennese regulator on the walls, the Chelsea ship’s bells on the roll top desk, the ogee on the end table, and the seven-foot walnut-cased Stevenson grandfather’s clock, made in Nottingham in 1801, with its moon-phase window on the dial and pair of robins threading flowery buntings around the Roman numerals. When he imagined inside the case of that clock, dark and dry and hollow, and the still pendulum hanging down its length, he felt the inside of his own chest and had a sudden panic that it, too, had wound down.

When his grandchildren had been little, they had asked if they could hide inside the clock. Now he wanted to gather them and open himself up and hide them among his ribs and faintly ticking heart.

When he realized that the silence by which he had been confused was that of all of his clocks having been allowed to wind down, he understood that he was going to die in the bed where he lay.

-Paul Harding, Tinkers
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