After Hearing that the World’s Last Typewriter Factory is Closing


The woods, kept from us, lance up in darkness.


Ghosts of animals press against the windows,


leaving breath we can write in, our names, our curses,


and the front door contains frames


as if images of faces could be cut out and put there.


It’s cold, the gold trap door for letters or whatever


you call the messages from enthusiasts of credit—


pages printed by machines, sealed by machines.


If there’s a human at the start of the chain I can’t


picture her features, but her hands are envelope-white,


blameless. A radical loneliness washes in


with each lost friend found, as if knowing


that because we’ll lose the world, it makes perfect


sense to put together a spare. Nights I hear the train,


the line they say raises the population—nothing


else to do, too late to fall back, too early to rise—


the old-fashioned kettle screech carried ten miles south.


At the station, the beautiful renovated station,


juniper is making an undrinkable cocktail of the air.


And down the platform steps, the ungrateful child,


carried, too big to be carried, wakes in the arms of her mother.


She shrieks, as if homecoming were always


treachery, and loaded into the car—too big, you’re too big,


I’ll give you something to cry about


the circus acrobats are still tumbling suicidally


in her mind, living, shimmering premonitions,


and decades ahead


her nightmares are reborn as children.




July 30, 2011




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