Featured in Colorado Review
Factories Are Everywhere in Poetry Right NowFeatured, Poetry
Published Fall 2011
We are watching a crayon being made, we are children,
we are watching the crayon become crayons
and more crayons and thinking how can there be enough
room in America to make what makes it up, we are thinking
all America is a factory by now, the head of it churning out
fake oranges, the hand of it churning out glass bottles,
the heel of it churning out Lego men.
We are watching lifelike snakes get made, we are watching
lifelike rats get made, we are watching army men get made;
a whole factory for magic wands, a whole factory
for endless scarves, a whole factory, America, for the making
of the doves, a whole factory, America,
for the making of long-eared
rabbits and their love of deep dark holes. We are watching
a marble being made, how does the cat’s eye get in the marble
and how does the sight get into that, how does the hand get
on it, how does the hand attach to the child, how does the child
attach to the dirt, and how does the dirt attach to its only name,
America. The name is manufactured here by rows of me in airless
rooms. Sunlight is accidental, sunlight is runoff
from the lightbulb factory, is ooze on the surface of all our rivers.
Our abandoned factories make empty space and our largest
factory produces distance and its endless conveyor produces miles.
And people in the basement produce our underground. Hillbilly
teeth are made here, but hillbilly teeth are made everywhere
maybe. The factory that makes us is overseas, and meanwhile we,
America, churn out China, France, Russia, Spain, and our glimpses
of them from across the ocean. Above the factory billowing clouds
can be seen for miles around. Long line of us never glances up
from the long line of glimpses we’re making, we could make
those glimpses in the dark, our fingertips could see to do it,
all the flashing fish in the Finger Lakes
have extra-plus eyes in America. The last factory, which makes last
lines, makes zippers for sudden reveals: a break in the trees opens
ziiiip on a view, the last line opens ziiiip on enormous meaning.
Patricia Lockwood's poems have recently appeared in Poetry, Gulf Coast, Agni, Denver Quarterly, Poetry Northwest, and Black Warrior Review. She lives in Florida.