How I Measure Time

i measure time with distant, winter memories

of freezing places and icy roads

and quiet nights alone in the snow.  

i measure time with the houses i’ve lived in

and the color of the carpets

in all the rooms i have slept.

i measure time by the friendships

that have passed

and the jackets that i’ve worn

and the songs i’ve stopped listening to 

and the drawers in the desk

that fill up so slowly

with unimportant things

that i can’t quite throw away.

i measure time through the faces i know

but haven’t seen in years  

or the calcium deposits on the drain

or the things that made me cry

but now barely move the gauge. 

i measure time with no consistency at all

without uniformity or precision

or any form of structure

or a strict, reliable system.

i measure time by the days without rain

and the rust on my guitar strings

and the missing hairs on my head.

i measure time with seasons and holidays and

violent storms and national disasters.

and with every day that passes, 

and every year that sinks or floats,

i increasingly place value on the smallest

units of measurement,

the dog in my lap,

the salt on the table,   

the drink in my glass,

and do my best to love the process of keeping

my eye on the world, 

while i still can.