I mishear on the radio
toaster instead of ouster and dream
a tinker governing the land
just as my book is putting me to sleep.
In overalls he fixes something once
he’s taken it apart and laid it out.
A constellation on a blanket
in the bed of a crew cab truck.
Springs and cogs and wingnuts
speak to him, purposeless unless
part of a great exploded schematic.
No one wants to be a part left over.
Singular, non-moving parts
that do not fit or are missing now
the toaster is toasting again.
My old gray tome of Eskimo poems
is a manual for how to catch fish
but one has to live like them
to understand the many steps.
I still want to know
why everything finally fits
inside a shell too tight for god.
Only things that work go in there.
A smaller screwdriver is required
but experience with tabs and slots
is what repairs all appliances.
I think the newsman meant alliances
and stabs and plots and despair.
The book falls off me to the floor.
I lose my place.
–Tony Brewer (Monroe County)
This poem previously appeared in the author’s Hot Type Cold Read, Chatterhouse Press, 2013.
Tony Brewer lives in Bloomington and has been a book compositor at Indiana University Press for over 15 years. He is chair of the Writers Guild at Bloomington and executive director of the Spoken Word Stage at the 4th Street Arts Festival, as well as a renowned live sound effects artist. His latest book is Hot Type Cold Read (Chatterhouse Press, 2013).
Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem from an Indiana poet every day in April (hand-selected by Indiana Poet Laureate George Kalamaras). Check in daily to see who is featured next!