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The Arrow of Time Allows No Reversal

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My birthday dinner, our favorite restaurant;
we mix smiling eyes across the table.
I reach for another bread stick, knock the wine glass over,
watch it take hours to reach the floor.

The sibilance of shattering glass turns every head
toward the source, toward us, toward this singular moment.
The explosion of wine, a grape grenade,
throws liquid shrapnel in great purple arcs
to land on the white summer dress, 
dearly purchased only yesterday,
worn by the woman at the next table.

I can never un-break the glass,
un-spill the wine,
un-stain the dress.

The Arrow of Time allows no reversal.
Ever forward, each moment is ripe for choice or fate
to set the course of the next moment, and the next.

The drive home, the usual route,
We mix words and laughter over the console.
My eyes rest on your smile, miss the car jump the divide,
watch it take days to reach our lane.

The screech of tearing metal turns other heads
toward the source, toward us, toward this irretrievable moment.
The explosion of flesh, a blood grenade,
throws liquid life in great crimson arcs
to soak the white summer dress,
dearly purchased just yesterday,
worn by the woman in the passenger seat.

I can never un-crash the car, 
un-spill the blood,
un-kill my wife.

The Arrow of Time allows no reversal.
Ever forward, each moment is ripe for choice or fate
to set the course of the next moment, and the next.

The Arrow of Time allows no reversal.
Yet our hands reach for the glass,
our eyes seek the smile, 
as if action produced no real consequence.
My brain says to me, “All can be mended
once the wine and blood stops flowing.”

The selections of fall. The fall of selections. 
We mix ideas and prejudice over the airwaves.
I reach for the lever, vote my spleen,
watch it take decades to destroy a nation’s heart.

The blast of venality turns epochs
toward the worst, toward hell, toward the irreconcilable clash. 
The explosion of sense, a hate grenade,
throws pain and suffering in great generational arcs,
to stain the concept of justice, 
dearly purchased a thousand years ago, 
by the ancestors of a continent.

I can never un-enslave a nation, 
un-spill the blood,
un-kill a people.

The Arrow of Time allows no reversal.

The only gift it gives is that of recognition:
In every moment we choose a world.

Let us choose wisely.

For the Arrow of Time allows no reversal.


The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
 Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
 Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
- Omar Khayyám (translation by Edward Fitzgerald).