Chris Ingram


The steady, steadying, steadfast tick tock
measures stretches of my life
since first moments of memory
even when midnight gongs flip-flopped
my insides like a fish on a flat stone
by the pond in the woods out back
stocked with carp by the neighbor whose property line
and ours bisect it  

Hours spent tracking the streams that wend
their way from there through woods dividing yards
through ribbed rusted tunnels under roads past guilty crows
all the way to the Cove, to the Sound, to the ocean and
beyond the prison camp existence of my home
and the warden I’m told to love who can’t love
me for the hatred she holds
for herself  

Solace found in the dependable
tock tick tock. Your flat brass moon 
hung from oak, swinging
You’ll… be… oh… kay. You’ll… be… oh… kay. 
In time, embrace the gongs, their threat undone 
by familiarity. Unlike hers, pronounced through vodka breath
of murder and dick severing
The anxious silence of my nights, measured  

You were grandfather’s first, the words
“Western Germany” etched on your face, from a time, he said
when there was a West and East
Germany, that is. And then passed to my father
and when his ten-year cycling of wives replaced warden
with child bride hungry for obeisance
your pulse was stopped
by ambivalence   

You’re mine now, rescued
hauled for thirty years and counting 
from marital stead to bachelor quarters
up and down the eastern coast, across New England
time and again revivified by these untrained hands
I can’t comprehend your hints at first but after a day or two of pondering
understand and you live again, the promise revived
We’ll… be… oh… kay.  

Your brass weights mottled beyond polishing
all chimes silent, repair beyond my skills’ limits
keyhole gouged when I lost the key; battle scars
I don’t recall when I made the pledge
but keep it surely as any solemn vow
for now it’s mine to keep you safe.
You’ll… be… oh… kay.  

And still I tend you, daily, weekly — soothed by your constance
healed, even, until as if some uncalled debt
paid by my ministrations, is satisfied
I let you go, sold on the cheap
to the old man from Portland with a pick-up truck
“This’ll be my last,” he says. And I know
We’ll both be okay.  

© Chris Ingram

Chris Ingram was born in St Louis and grew up on the North Shore of Long Island. After high school he spent over thirty years in broadcasting, mostly as a newsman in markets of every size and at CBS News in New York. He has also been a radio deejay, a truck driver and a wrestling coach. Chris has published a few books and had his work included in such publications as Hypnopomp Magazine and Flash Fiction Magazine. His poem, Reflection, was published in Volume 14 of  Loch Raven Review. He now lives outside Philadelphia, working on numerous writing projects in divers genres. His website is

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