The night before my wedding
I put my wristwatch through the machine cycle.
It was not in a jeans pocket or tied to a belt,
not wrapped in a T-shirt
nor balled up in a pair of tights.
No. I put it in the empty machine,
shut the door and turned
the wheel of the switch revving the Bosch
to life. Standing nonplussed on the concrete floor
of the bottle shed, it dripped in my hand
after the 40 minute cycle.
I’d been wondering what
was inside and then I remembered
like I was watching someone else
bending to place the watch inside the drum
carefully, like a bundle of delicates
turning the dial like a sleep-walker.
I could hear the clink of glasses
and murmur from the bar as
I went out into the dark and stars
of the backyard to take
the futile action of hanging
the glittering face by its worn strap
from the clothesline
up to my ankles
in wet grass.


"Watch" by Martina Evans, from American Mules. Reprinted with kind permission of Carcanet Press.