Karen Kunc   © 2011 All Rights Reserved

for Bob Hicok

The machinery was there before we even knew it existed.
   A low hum like industry supporting the horizon.
      This is where your face meets the mercenary creed of wind.

Eight hundred thousand jobs lost in April and spring’s
   decidedly offshored its labor for an early fall.
      Adam Smith had it wrong: the economy isn’t run

by an invisible hand but by a ghost-ship manned
   by a crew of severed limbs.
      In the blind altruism of ants the queen

is dismembered in a conveyor belt of drones.
   At company X the first tier of layoffs was strategic.
      Safety in numbers is the ineluctable dream of teeth

lined up row by row by row for the tearing into meat.
   A murder of crows sounds like an epidemic of hope
      in the suburbs when mortgage rates go soaring.

Accretion apparently works both ways.
   Nothing a pathology of elves couldn’t cure
      at the merest wind chime and how convenient

for hemlock to grow along the side of the road.
   In Diego Rivera’s Pan American Unity mural
      there is the worker by the left shoulder pinned

to a factory press, face half skull: left eye
   the serpentine-tinctured glass orb of prophecy.
      Long before the astrolabe,

mapping the night sky was a science honed
   by scorpions to find water in the desert.
      Let us all drink in praise of stars.


José Luis Gutiérrez
Copyright © 2011  

José Luis Gutiérrez is a San Francisco poet and host of the BookShop
West Portal Poetry Series. His work has appeared in Spillway Review,
Eratio, San Francisco Poets 11, Margie
, and is forthcoming in Stone
Highway Review
and in the Mutanabbi Street Anthology due out 2012
through PM Press.


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