Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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Nursery Rhyme from Another Century

All over the neighborhood
          sleepwalkers sway
beneath glittering shelves of ice

dressed in cold light,
          confounded by doorknobs,
by the sea in their dreams.

Televisions belly-up in the alley,
          electrons stripped from trees—
Slow fallout of asbestos clasped

in the nursery walls, the grubby
          fists of stars prick
dark like a rash from toxic milk.

Corrosion on spark plugs, leaves
          whorled in the back seat
of a car oxidizing green.

And the nursery rhymes
          echo in the dark like radio,
a world talking cheerfully to itself

in the endless repetition
          of a pink cartoon
she begins to recognize

as the subplot of her life,
          the subplot of happiness.
Soon, they say, our houses will be made

entirely of glass. We’ll dance like mannequins—
          stiff and flawless
in the blue, fatal light of television.    

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