Readings — From the April 2018 issue

Extortionate

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By Andrea Brady, from a work in progress. Brady’s most recent book is The Strong Room (Crater Press).

There is a bird that mimics the car alarm

I nearly fall asleep at the table

My husband is covered in the ash
of work and I know his interests
only by the bumps and depressions

Somewhere my family is eating
turkey and debating uranium one and Benghazi
as saltwater seeps through the pavement in Miami

Maybe these feelings can be classified as plants
Some are thorny, others covered in sap

Once I was full of rage that made me safe
The political was a mass on the other side
of the door of my lyric
Now I lie like a bolt on the spare
bed imagining how we will melt

The deputy town councillor said at the meeting
that our jobs are safe from the robots

until 2030 It seemed so precise
I could hardly stop to care about my fictions

The screw in my son’s elbow is gradually working
itself free

Given permission to cross
I snapped at the squabbling and threatened
to go red and withhold their lullaby

The bird sits on my throat, the alarm is sounding
or is it the boiler too dear to fix

Comparing my psyche to Howl’s Moving Castle
once the fire of the heart has gone
nearly out

Knowing that no matter how much I have lost
or saved
up against doom there is so much more
which could still drop off
this regal mechanism I have armed myself with
this faulty house and lumpen residents

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