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By Linda Gregerson

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


might cough. The passions, I take my clues

from an obvious source, may be less like climatic events

than we conventionalize, though I’ve heard


of tornadoes that break the second-best glassware

and leave everything else untouched.

There’s a finer conviction than seamlessness


elicits: the Greeks knew a god

by the clanking behind his descent.

The heart, poor pump, protests till you’d think


it’s rusted past redemption, but

there’s tuning in these counterweights,

celebration’s assembled voice.


Linda Gregerson, “Ex Machina” from Fire in the Conservatory (Port Townsend, Washington: Dragon Gate, 1982). Copyright © 1982 by Linda Gregerson. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Fire in the Conservatory (Dragon Gate, 1982)

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Love
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

Linda Gregerson
A Renaissance scholar, a classically trained actor, and a devotee of the sciences, Linda Gregerson produces lyrical poems informed by her expansive reading that are inquisitive, unflinching, and tender. Tracing the connections she finds between science and poetry, Gregerson says, “I think there are rhythms of thought, fragile propositions about the intersections of human understanding and human habitus, robust intersections of the pragmatic and the sublime, that science shares with art, and I love the thought that poetry can learn from and do homage to its near cousins. The great thing about “facts” (and the scientists are much more sophisticated skeptics than the poets are) is that they put up resistance. Resistance is good for art, and for thinking in general.” See More By This Poet

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