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Skin and circuitry,
Metal and flesh.
Her dreams of childbirth were
Relentless, recurring.
Push, push, push
Said a midwife’s mechanical voice.

Fluorescent lights flickered,
Then murmured discordantly.
Coarse starched sheets
Scratched her knees.
Machines hummed in corners.

She pushed.
The product of her womb was hard —
Edges and angles
Against her inner thighs.

And at the end of that difficult birth, looking down,
She saw coils and coils of bright copper wire.

By day, she was a secretary.
People liked her.  Not enough, though,
For Valentine’s, dates, anniversaries.

With furtive eyes, she observed
All those little moments
That enchant a common life.

So, she only worked.
Phone, file, phone.
Push, push, push.

At times, she imagined her womb
As a gestating clock.
Its meticulous gears
Marked the passage of time.

Batteries moved her limbs, her veins
Were wires in her skin.
She hid circuits
Behind her eyes.
Electricity riddled her brain –
Warm lightning.

Returning home one night,
She passed a factory on her right.

Its smokestacks vaulted up
Like turrets.  The lights there
Were stacked stars.

Its fence hummed.  The smokestacks
Exhaled rhythmically
Push, push, push.

A metal shed was there –
She imagined it had
A piston-beating heart
A muscled metronome –
Life in a bright steel box.

Arriving home, her spine
Tickled with current.
She reached her garage and parked.  Blue sparks
Danced in her sinuses.
Push, push, push,
Said a mid-wife’s mechanical voice.

She pushed some oily rags
To seal the open spaces
Beneath her garage door.
In her brain,
Machines hummed in corners.

She pushed the car’s ignition.
The air there nourished her, then.
The carbon monoxide
Push, push, pushed her.

She shut her eyes.
Her gears slowed softly.

© Eric Robert Nolan 2013


Todays poem is the second of Eric Nolan’s “Three Dreamers”, three tales of people who work together, but are oblivious to each others darkness, as they are so utterly absorbed in their own. Today we meet the Secretary, who has her own unique darkness, and in her dreams she can never escape it, it’s mechanical nature pulling her in whenever she goes to sleep.

Yesterday, we dealt with the writer, who had his own darkness to deal with, which came in the form of birds taunting his very soul. Tomorrow, we will meet the Bureaucrat. Stay tuned for his arrival.

Eric is a writer out of Ridge, NY who we are very proud to feature on this site. Leave your thoughts below on this piece, and share it with the world.