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The torso of the machine was burlap stuffed with feathers,
with limbs made of old cutlery, and every time it scratched
itself or placed one pious hand upon its heart, a downy cloud
erupted from its bowels like barely stifled laughter. Soon
it became a shredded mess, and all the children followed
it clanking through the streets to shriek their airplane sounds
and run with arms outstretched through the floating down
as it dragged the body of whomever had been the latest
to say something wrong. It used pushpins to tack the body
to a post so we could finger paint our messages in the clouds
using only the warmest blood. This became our congress
on those warm afternoons, and we grew more and more
grateful to the simple machine for the white-hot sensation
of cleanliness it offered us. Righteous anger is just rage
wearing a velvet tracksuit. I want my anger to be warm
and naked as the day it first opened its eyes to the world.
Michael Bazzett’s work has appeared in Ploughshares, The Sun, American Poetry Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Iowa Review, among others. He is the author of three poetry collections – You Must Remember This, (winner of the Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry), Our Lands Are Not So Different (Horsethief Books), and The Interrogation, (forthcoming from Milkweed Editions) – as well as a verse translation of the Mayan creation epic, The Popol Vuh (Milkweed). He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two children.
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