Father Time; or Hello New Year

What happens to Father Time at midnight?
Does he give Baby New Year a pat on the head,
And then join all the other Father Times?
Do they all go out for drinks?
Do they share war stories?
“I had a massive earthquake in Haiti,”
Boasts Father 2010,
“a catastrophic oil spill,and the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull.”
Father 2001 laughs derisively,
And Father 1945 scowls at both of them,
shakes his head, and nurses his saki.
Or do they try to forget all that bad stuff?
Father 1512 gushes over the completion of the Sistine Chapel,
While Father 1450 explains how the printing press works.
Father 1207 recites Rumi poems and Father 1564 reenacts Shakespearean comedies.
Father 1969 remembers Woodstock (vaguely) and landing on the moon.
They celebrate all the birthdays of all the great men and women they nursed.
Or maybe they simply gab about the sex lives of princes and movie stars.

Or does Father Time give Baby New Year an awkward shrug
and then walk off into the night alone?
He’s always been alone, from the moment his Father Time bid Baby Him farewell
To the moment he bids his Baby New Year hello.
He’s probably pretty socially awkward, right?
If you put him in a room
With other Father Times
He would probably hide in the corner,
shy and nervous.
He’s known no other life
Than that of being Father Time.
What would you do
If suddenly you weren’t you?

Or does Father Time stay with Baby New Year for a spell?
He is, after all, a baby.
What kind of jerk leaves a baby to fend for himself?
Maybe Father Time stays with him until he’s old enough to take over.
Aging 75 days a day,
He’ll be 18 by April.
Maybe Father Time teaches Baby New Year
(known as Kid New Year in January,
Preteen New Year in February,
And Adolescent New Year in March)
All that he knows,
All that his Father Time taught him,
All that his Father Time had been taught
By Grandfather Time.
And so on.
By April
Father Time will be 93.
Maybe,
On Young Man New Year’s 18th birthday,
Father Time
Gives him his pocket watch,
Smiles,
And exhales.
And Young Man New Year,
Now Young Man Time,
Kisses him on the forehead,
And quietly cries,
While we celebrate the first days of spring.

Dedicated to my wife, Rachel, on the 11th anniversary of our first kiss.
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