Ten Degrees


I take off my rings, my bracelets, my watch. The clock does not strike the hour.

If this garden were mine, it would have this single dragline thread of spider silk rising free from the earth. Finer than human hair and more visible that this dial, this tree with its lime-coloured leaves. It draws my eye upwards along its unstill length. It sways, I sway. It splits the air, I step through.

The shadow on the dial moves back. What is this soft-remembered thing that creeps like ivy and pours like wine, that clings like sweetened glaze?

I could turn to see you waiting there. But I don’t know how long I will be.


The Old Testament story about the dial of Ahaz (Isa. 38.8) recounts how the shadow on the dial is turned back by ten degrees. This can be interpreted as a miracle or as the effect of parhelion or ‘mock sun’.


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