About the Feature


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.

About the Author

Patricia Lockwood's poems have recently appeared in Poetry, Gulf Coast, Agni, Denver Quarterly, Poetry Northwest, and Black Warrior Review. She lives in Florida.