When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-raz’d,
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the watery main,
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate
That Time will come and take my love away.
Time is many things, her father told her. Time is a circle, and time is a great, turning gear that cannot be stopped, and time is a river that carries away what you love.
He looked at Rose’s mother’s portrait when he said that, hanging over their fireplace mantel. He had invented his time device only a few short months after she had died. It had always been one of his greatest regrets in life, though Rose sometimes wondered whether, without the all-consuming power of grief to drive him, he could have invented it at all. Most of his other inventions did not work nearly as well. The garden robot often digs up flowers instead of weeds. The mechanical cook can only make one kind of soup. And the talking dolls never tell Rose what she wants to hear.
[Read the whole story on Lightspeed Magazine]