There’s this vessel I feel
the presence of all the time. My sister-
in-law sprays a semi-precious wash
of silver beneath her tongue
which is one way to manage. For my own
part I envy the wooden pencils
shot through with graphite, deveining
themselves to the end of every line.
But for the stenographers
everyone do your own typing
seemed a sensible and leveling measure.
They still have their secret alphabet
and their flip-top pads so suited
to it. They took dictation
the way young Mother Theresa
heard God talking plain as a neighbor
yelling through the screen door
that the dog has got out of the yard again
but after starting that new order
and dressing all the sisters in white
cotton ribbed in periwinkle she didn’t hear Him
ever again. It’s not that Wisconsin
is newly rich in silica, which is another
word for quartz, which is another
word for sand, but suddenly industry
can’t get enough of its impressive
compressible strength and tiny
roundedness, which is another word
for I am found pleasing again. I will pour
most of the glasses of water I will ever
drink. I don’t mean loneliness. I could
impersonate your heart by tapping
on this wiped Formica lub dub
until you consent to tomorrow’s
urgent appointment but I hope
it doesn’t come to that. I think
of my prototype — the prototype
of me — gangling on
a ledge: the wire limbs
taped to the short cage
of torso were engineered for maximum
slouching, but, too, you could drop her
from the high roof
as much as you want. That egg
would never crack.