Ten What


by Natalie Shapero



The camera adds ten what, I can't remember.

But the threat's enough to make me stay


away. I don't want any more of what I have. 

I don't want another spider plant. I don't


want another lover. Especially I don't want

another clock, except insofar as each of us


is a clock, all hammers and counting

down. And yes, I know by heart the list


of lifetimes. A worker bee will die before

a camel. A fox will die before a pilot whale.


A pocket watch will die before the clock inside

the crocodile—I think of this often, but never 


tell my lover, as I do not tell him that,

upstairs, a moth is pinned by the window


sash. I make no plans to free it. Everyone says

the baby looks like me, but I can’t see it.