Carlin Mackie

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DEMOCRACY

I started thinking how it might work
to be an engineer and so I became
a smallish engineer. It was very hot

so I became a water cooling system.
I had no friends and I couldn’t move
around the house unless someone

who was kind came and put me on
a dolly and pushed me around so
I became a motorized scooter.

Then a motorized airplane. Then
a piece of the space shuttle.
For a change of pace, I became

different colors, then the things
colors come to represent. I was
a red stop sign and a yellow face

and a rainbow peace sign. And
you were wearing me for awhile
as a sticker that said I Voted.

When I became a dark smudge
on the mirror of the upstairs
bathroom at your father’s house

I meant to only stay a week.
I’ve been here a year and three days,
and I haven’t seen your father in all

of that time. I think he might
have had an accident. I worry
he is in the basement, collapsed,

having had his third heart attack.
I wish I could become an ambulance
and save him, but I’ve become

a cherry tree in the yard of
my childhood house, and childhood me
is cutting myself down with an axe.

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