poetry by j matthew waters

Time in a Bottle

So many years ago I placed the bottle
On a kitchen shelf out of reach
From any of the little ones.

At first a day wouldn’t pass
Without me craving
What was inside
But the urge would fade
Convinced I’d be a better man
For keeping my thoughts
Clean of mean spirits.

As time wore on I flipped through
Photographs of baptisms
And vacations and graduations
Less worried today
About anyone’s safety
Mindful of placing a few calls
On Sunday afternoon.

Sometimes when I sit alone
Rereading novels I first studied
In college I wonder
How alive I’d be
If that bottle
Had ever been emptied.

september two thousand eleven
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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10 thoughts on “Time in a Bottle

  1. Wonderfully reflective… I want to know what was in the bottle, but I suppose not knowing is satisfaction in itself. 🙂

  2. cyberbonn on said:


  3. Not knowing is what keeps you alive. Constant curiosity: life’s panadol. Love it.

  4. I love that you did not name the contents of the bottle. For each of us it is different. For many of us, the contents are multiple roads not taken, loves not pursued, addictions resolved, but we may never completely stop wondering, wanting, questioning, craving. Your poem does such a great job of evoking this. Absolutely beautiful.

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