by Alan Perry
The metal gray time-clock
seemed to monitor every movement.
Its glassy face never blinked
as it belled interruptions through the day.
It knew when I began to work
went home, ate lunch
visited the restroom.
I had to punch it–not really a punch
more like a nudge with a card
inked with my name and clock number–
until it snapped down on a precise day
hour, minute–bracketed pieces of shifts
book-ended by morning’s dark arrival
more darkness in evening departure.
I wondered who ran the timepiece–
pictured a little man in a back office
rationalizing the worth of each worker
as he collected employee records
on errors, outputs, goodbyes.
Or maybe nothing was behind the clock
except a wall plug and cord
keeping it alive with voltage–
doling out daily stamps for temporal work
until the electricity is cut
and hands no longer matter.