The Hands and the Clock

“One hour and 41 minutes of CPR later, a Mifflinburg toddler regained his pulse and heart rate after being submerged in icy water at least 20 minutes…the 50 people [who helped save him] include the neighbor who pulled the boy from the creek to the responding medical professional chain who kept the CPR going.”
—The Sunbury Daily Item

“For about four hours, in the unrelenting sun, [Michael Brown’s] body remained where he fell.”
—The New York Times

Set the clock to know how long it takes

Make it March, something glittering near an edge, something stuck
in a clump of snow, maybe a bird pecking at tamped-down, faded grass

Make it August, wavery heat, McDonald’s scenting the blur, exhaust,
cut grass, honeysuckle, a spill of trash

a red-cheeked day, gusts, husks, branches broken after so much
snow, almost gone now into the rush of the creek

a flush-faced, bloated day, cups, bottles, sheen of oil,
sheen of sweat, rainbows in the spray of a hose

How soon the lungs filled is a question, how soon the slowed hearts stopped,
how many breaths were allotted and by what

or whom—not God, though the idea of God hovered,
and not the clock of the sun, but the pressing

heels of many hands, for, for, for, for, and pumping,
a single finger, six times against.