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  • Hidden away in haste
    safeguard from time itself,
    left to lie for seven years.
    Pulled now from the recess of
    an oft-opened drawer,
    I stumble upon the past rolled tightly
    in a well-worn woolen sock.
    Sliding the perfect disk from its package,
    handling solid gold Elgin craftsmanship,
    fingering the etched initials, SPW.
    It belonged to the uncle of my mother's father,
    Samuel Patrick White.
    Born to another century,
    a time different from our own.
    Daily, he’d latch the sturdy chain to the galluses
    of his OshKosh overalls, religiously checking
    inside the bib pocket for this his most prized possession.
    Handing the watch down to his nephew,
    a man who knew the value of such a small token,
    it continued to mark the passage of life.
    Though silent now, it was once carried
    by this man, my grandfather,
    who heard the tacit ticking
    amid the roar of looms
    weaving sheets and shirt fabric.
    A man who farmed the back yards of mill houses,
    hunted the back roads of Pauline,
    and ran whiskey when he couldn't scrape up
    enough to feed hungry mouths.
    A man who, like his uncle, left to fight
    the Great War, and returned to a battle with the bottle.
    A man who’s pride kept him working long
    past the will of his body.
    Staring now into the face of this timeless piece,
    gazing into the face of the past,
    I see his staring solidly back at me.
    Thus reminded, I hide it away again,
    safe and sound for the next time I am
    in need of a memory.
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