Back to Issue Five.

The Man with a Missing Watch in Spring



He isn't sure where he dropped it, but he'd better 
find it soon. Already the flags 
of poison ivy are rising from the rot 
of the backyard woods. Already 
the maples are popping open 
their million small umbrellas 
to blot the bluing sky. Somewhere, 
among the rank moisture of the morning 
and the dawn's caroling desire, 
his Bulova glints like a piece of money 
or trash. If anything, the world is trying 
to cover it up—to grime it with moss, 
to shade it with something more intricate 
and commonplace than an Eifel Tower, 
a statue by Rodin. No one takes the time, it seems, 
to notice so many masterpieces 
hauling themselves aloft: mourning cloak 
and hickory leaf, the rash of violets 
spreading all over his lawn. And this 
is the week when each of them is perfect—before 
the caterpillars and droughts, the leaf molds 
and blights, the prolonged exposure 
to air and sun. Yes, this is the week with a missing 
watch. But it's also the week 
when a man can't bother to get on his knees 
in search of anything but what has been rising 
to stop him with gold and green. 



Charles Rafferty's poems have appeared in The New Yorker and The Southern Review, and his stories have appeared in The Sonora Review and The Cortland Review. His most recent chapbook of poems is Appetites (Clemson University Press). Currently, he directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College.