Linda Gregerson


Ex Machina

When love was a question, the message arrived
in the beak of a wire and plaster bird. The coloratura
was hardly to be believed. For flight,

it took three stagehands: two
on the pulleys and one on the flute. And you
thought fancy rained like grace.

Our fog machine lost in the Parcel Post, we improvised
with smoke. The heroine dies of tuberculosis after all.
Remorse and the raw night air: any plausible tenor

Maudlin; Or, The Magdalen’s Tears

If faith is a tree that sorrow grows
and women, repentant or not, are swamps,

a man who comes for solace here
will be up to his knees and slow

getting out. A name can turn on anyone.
But say that a woman washes the dust

from a stranger’ s feet
and sits quite dry-eyed in front

of her mirror at night.
The candle flame moves with her breath, as does