Noah Warren

Spring 2019

He lifts the yellow backhoe
with the hoist he’s rigged
to the I-beams of his studio;
it hangs in its chains like a bee.
On long tables, unarticulated
column segments wait to be welded
and planted in the meadow. Like teeth, they’ll grow
brown with pollen, black with fog.
A decades-old Athena stares into the corner.
Her steel breasts and heavy legs barely
tacked — the idea of a body, toddling
reproachful from its ersatz frame.
He leans back wincing on the homemade creeper
and inches under this used machine.
Rust-bound casters keen —
his young assistant tightens.
He will wrench off the skid plate;
drain two trays of tarry oil; swap out
plugs, cracked hoses, gummed filters;
grease the housings; curse the pump.
For a quarter of an hour, though,
he just lies on that deal platform,
a pocket flashlight clenched in his teeth,
testing lightly with his fingertips
the dark, intricate landscape
a foot above his face.

Noah Warren is the author of  The Destroyer in the Glass,  winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets. A former Stegner Fellow, he lives in San Francisco and is a pursuing a PhD in English at UC Berkeley. 

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