At dawn in silk pyjamas, mole-skin slippers, he will wind up clocks, dozens of cream zeros set in oblong walnut cases, seconds thumped like golfballs at the wall,

or else in small French porcelain on Adam mantelpieces, filling rooms like powder with their ticking.

He will turn his back towards the windows, watch them in the mirror as they slowly fill like wine with morning light. Marvellous to think that, with the universe

to aim at, light should choose to fall on him, robbed of, as are hours and years their power to dispossess, its power to blind.

Hard to put his finger, hot with money, on precisely what went wrong. His children drive fast cars but have no children, the guard dog’s dying (cancer of the throat),

the Austrian au pair has done a bunk with all the silver, swastikas of disinfectant stain the spiral stairs.Still, he waits as some might drink in bars at times of imminent invasion (orchestras of timepieces commemorating every hour in his impressive life),

waiting for the hour no clock can measure, for the termite and the cockroach to awake, at last alerted to their task.

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