I saw the illuminated numbers on the face of the clock

wink out and go dark at 5:43 in the morning.

I heard the buzz and the whir, the taut electrical hum

click off and go silent in the dim glow of the coming dawn.

I thought it might be nuclear war, a shift of the magnetic poles,

the end of the world, or a branch on a power line.

I put on a royal blue shirt, gray slacks and a red tie,

in front of the hallway mirror, and then I fed the cat.

I contemplated my pale reflection in the dark glass,

and wondered if the power was out all over the world.

Were there other men putting on red ties and feeding their cats,

thinking about the day that lay ahead, and running behind?

It is an hour earlier in Chicago, six hours later in Paris,

already tomorrow in Tonga, but still yesterday in Samoa.

If the end of the Mayan calendar is the end of time,

will my car payment still be due on the 8th of the month,

and will Orion and Cassiopeia still play ring around the rosy

with the moon, across the icy, black vacuum of heaven?