CALL IT A SWALLOWING MACHINE,

by M. Ann Hull
 

a suppression contraption, call it
a daughter—it wants to be good,

but a glitch has taught it to weep. It leaks
and the eyes rust and the joints

creak, but normally, its function is to redress,
redact with no reaction. You can break

a glass, shard by shard pared down
from sliver to whisper, and rub it in

her mother like diamond lotion.
The machine will memorize an invention,

will re-remember the moment as playing
peek-a-boo in your lap. You can slide

her hand along a timber table, smooth
your wife’s ring finger down the cross-

grain until it clicks with a circle-saw,
a bone to metal sparkler. The contraption

will put back what all sutures couldn’t
unsever. A glitch makes the chromium eyes

grow colder than stainless steel should be,
but normally, she’ll preserve the darkest

dinners, ground down gunpowder thin,
till the arguments are arias. The daughter wants

to be good. Give it a bang with the hammer,
and it’ll be reclicking like reclockwork

again. It’ll chew black eyes and beg for more
in a voice recorded to sound like yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M. Ann Hull’s work has appeared in 32 Poems, Barrow Street, BOXCAR Poetry Review, and Mid-American Review, amongst others.  She has won the Ed Ochester Award and the Academy of American Poets Prize. A former poetry editor of Black Warrior Review, she holds an MFA from the University of Alabama.

 

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One thought on “CALL IT A SWALLOWING MACHINE,

  1. noorcissist says:

    One of my favorite poems. It’s a beautiful piece.

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