The Watchmaker of Idlib

The room shakes. He holds the hairspring
up to the light. In the hour before the jets come
he plays old cassettes of Farid El-Atrache
and dreams of Beluga where his son, Tariq,
once drew a clock in the sand. They bring him
pieces of broken time: cracked faces, lost years,
and place them into his hands. They pay him
in figs and promises. He prises open their secrets
then holds each coil with a pair of tweezers.
At dusk, he listens to the crickets in the grass
and follows the slow sweep of the shadows.
He eats his shawarma, then winds his son’s watch,
his time cut short. With a father’s touch, he sets
it ticking like the beat of a sparrow’s heart.