Hunk of Junk by Bob Kirkley

Hunk of Junk

“I’m afraid,” the jeweler says, “it’s worthless,”
meaning the Bulova Marine Star my father wore in life.

I see the merchant’s point, the crystal all scratched up,
the bezel scraped and gouged, the crown bent,
threads grimy, reluctant to turn. My father never
took the watch off, reaching down into machines,
changing the oil himself, tightening belts,
replacing gaskets and heads, precise
as a tuning fork.

The jeweler places the watch on the countertop.
Steel clinks glass like a toast.
“Anything else?” he asks.
“Yes, can you restore it?”
“Why bother?” he says. “It would cost
more than it’s worth, more than a new one.”

I weigh that and the white tuning fork, framed in silver,
at twelve o’clock on the dial. Meanwhile, the red tip of the second hand
strikes the marks squarely, steady as a hammer.
When my father was admitted to the hospital at the end,
they asked him to remove the watch—
the gift my mother gave him on their 25th
wedding anniversary. “No,”
he said, “it stays right here.”

“Fix it,” I tell the jeweler, “this timepiece
that you say has no value.”


Bob Kirkley received an MA in creative writing from Florida State University and serves as a high school English teacher in the Florida Keys. His poetry has appeared in Adelaide Literary Magazine, Eunoia Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Better Than Starbucks. He can be reached at

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