National Poetry Month Day 31: “Machine Song” by Bruce Snider

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We’re never satisfied with just the 30 days that April offers for National Poetry Month, so we’re keeping it going for a little while longer.

Machine Song

I Xerox what I need to keep
(a sheaf of papers, taxes, real estate),
everything that once was ours.
I close the lid. The light flares—

a sheaf of papers: taxes, real estate.
This is what we were, divided in a tray.
I close the lid. The light flares,
then spits the pages neatly stacked.

This is what we are, divided in a tray.
(No more walking hand in hand.)
It spits the pages. Neatly stacked,
everything we loved is here—

no more walking hand in hand.
I copy one for you, and one for me.
Everything I loved is here
as your touch drifts back.

I copy one for you, and one for me.
As the gears grind and shift,
your touch drifts back—
the bed we shared those nights, a part

of us those gears. Grind and shift,
my breathing slows. The paper jams:
the bed we shared, those nights apart.
I clear the path and start again,

my breathing slow. The feeder jams,
the paper blank as sleep. What’s left?
I clear the path and start again.
Lost deep inside the machine,

what’s left: the paper, blank as sleep.
Was everything once ours?
Lost deep inside the machine,
I Xerox what I need to keep.

-Bruce Snider

If you like what the Rumpus is doing for National Poetry Month, you’ll probably like this multimedia anthology of original poems we’ve run at The Rumpus over the last three years. Available only for iPad. Check it out!


Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →