Jan Bottiglieri


I would want to be
legs, I think,
the completeness;

eight all tucked under,
and probably a tool to do it.
A machine. Yes,

I would want to be
leg-tucking machine.

I would tire of bodyblack
and savor shocks of orange, green.

Two sizes: large and larger.
I would keep
intimate knowledge of both,

in the slur of pre-dawn marveling
at free America's refusal
of the one-spider policy;

my afternoons disquieted
with ranks of last night's quota
tramping across Shenzhen,

offerings for the foreigners'
provident ancestors
clamped in their mute, furred mouths.




Here is a factory for a tree:
acorn. Self-replicating robot
of oak, it keeps everything it needs

under its cap. All it wants to make
is more of itself. With one finger
I can button-push it into the dirt,

start up the little machine of it.
Clank! Eighty generations of birds
are startled into their dramas.


I am afraid he will bite my lip.
(Dreaming.) Frenetic dog kisses;
thumby pink tongue like a motor.

When I stroke
                                           his fur

I find he is cleft, almost completely—
I can see right into his trembly body,
the wondrous wet machine of it.

Lap lap on my chin, my cheek; and now
I want so much for him to
nip me open, just a tiny bit.


The phenomena of scale—our lot,
Number 713, in our town,
a cell in the body of our nation.

We manage it. Lean and productive;
efficient; all green blades and breakfast
and self-assembling stacks of bills, and

its engine this one square inch: a gun
molded into the fist of an army man
thrust up from the dirt near the window well.

A decade; more. I won't pick it up.
I need to know it is still there,
the striving, the mighty machine of it.



of the yellow-eyed bird
on the fence.

My brown hair he knows
from the strands in the nest
of his just-hatchedhood.
It's you!
says the yolk-yellow eye, how
I've missed you, and the humped
sheen of sun on his black chest
flutters, heart about to burst.

And of the red-velvet mites,
when their tiny

selves streak like comets
in a whorled heaven.
No matter how careful my fingertip.
I am their sky falling and falling.
Bright and horrible!
They forgive all morning
in frantic little circles.

Oh green world, pretty day fading,
help me be a part,
part of, never from.

Of the white day and its exploding.
Its quiet, its birchbark

girlhood. I want to slip into, I always
have wanted. The whispering,
the whimpering, the way the leaves.
The aim of my true blue,
the object of my mad crush—
it's you, of course, I say to the bird.
It's you, it's you.





Little Machines was inspired by my attendance at a conference on Nanotechnology in the Forest Products Industry.  Learn more about cool nanotech developments at www.nano.gov.

Night Shift at the Spider Factory was sparked by a trip to Target near Halloween. Mind blowing. Actually it was Super Target.  It's obviously a moniker they don't take lightly.

Part tries to be about a summer day, and the desire to be less murderous, and love.