— steven schroeder
To the extent that awareness of time is lacking,
the capacity of other animals for generalizing is limited.
— Martha Nussbaum
Unconvinced that temporal awareness
is something one could possess,
I offer myself to a local instance
of it behind the mosque in Kowloon Park.
A thousand birds in every tree make music
of four notes, time, and silence.
I have no time to offer, do not offer
the notes I have, add silence to the song,
watch a young woman and an old man
face the surface of a pond
covered with paper flowers
practice qigong to the rhythms
of their places in time.
The old man stops first, sits,
looks my way with a bird who has settled
on the branch above me. We call
and respond in silence like the birds
in four notes. Silences sung in three times
mingle over mirror water. A woman
passes singing. Time holds me still
in every sense when I put my pen aside.
The young woman’s qigong goes on,
the old man long gone.
Time has me in its music.