Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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A small (or large) machine

She busies herself making a machine for
resistance—a clothespin catches a wire

and a hatchet comes down, soundless,
onto the pillow—but she flinches, feels

a need for cliché like a need for cake frosting,
decides meanwhile to build a tripod from

limbs of crepe myrtle, jack pine, bubinga,
pushes the pedal forward a half-turn.

She is suspicious of severe goddesses
of the late Victorian sort, shuns sherbet-

toned Medusas, effervescent tentacles
and yolk. No, not yet: she places a moth

on each saucer, runs narrow-gauge wire
through aluminum, splices circuits so

the butter knife she bolted to a rotary
motor clinks a goblet with each pass.

That will do for now. If she can touch it,
it’s kitsch; if she can hear it, it’s dreck.

She stashes regret behind a breakfront,
but he sees her do it, pretends he only

recommends the amethyst oysters, leans
across her lap to douse the light again.  

The poem takes inspiration from Bobbery, a 2012
collaborative mixed media art exhibition in New Orleans
by artists Christopher Deris and Karoline Schleh.

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