The Bells Order the Clock Stopped

based on a true story

One o’clock! One o’clock!

(The independent hog Betts starts up from her slumber, piglets churning inside her. Run, run, run, say her feet.)

The darkness of the sky swallows the moon and the stars are out of place, one two three four six eight twelve twenty-four

One o’clock!

(Her legs like farmers eat up the miles. Farm wall, county line, state border and she is tireless and independent. Run, mother, run, cry the piglets and squeal.)

“Time!” cries John Bell, his eyes full of gold gold gold gold gold


“Time!” cries Mary Bell, in her library, weak-chinned, weak-eyed. The door crashes open and the stars pour in. Mary Bell screams and keeps screaming.

(One hundred, one fifty, two hundred, two fifty, three hundred, three fifty, four hundred, four fifty, more more more, burns the milk in her teats.)

John Bell rushes down the stairs and halfway down gravity looses its hold and everything falls and keeps falling. The clock, the clock

“Time!” cries John Bell and the word repeats, time time time time time

One o’clock!

The clock strikes once.

(And far away a lifetime away, Betts stops running and lies down.)