Grandfather in the Corner

We wind the clock every Sunday because that’s what we’ve always done; pulling down on the metal chains to raise the heavy brass weights that keep the pendulum in motion for all time. I thought it was called a grandfather clock because of my father’s father. Thought that its dark wood harbored a long, illustrious family history. But it wasn’t so; my own father bought it somewhere  in New Jersey long after he’d left my grandfather in Virginia. He’d  have told me that it was too nice a clock for black people to have owned “back then”. That’s why it came to us after – after Richmond, Virginia and segregation and the Civil Rights Movement. It takes up residence in a corner of the dining room now. I don’t care so much about where it came from as I used to. What matters is that the broad-faced sun and sliver of moon rise and set over the roman numerals the way they’ve been doing all my life. The clock in the corner is nothing but dependable. It keeps memories of time for me now like he once did. I tick off the many moments in my life to its hourly gongs.  It sets the rhythm for the day, just like a heartbeat.

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