I tell you I saw this once—tangle
of typewriters piled up
on a city street like a pyre
waiting to be lit, levers still
half lifted as if trying to hail
a cab. Oh, they were beautiful,
these discarded messengers
of the machine age, their names,
Olivetti, Royal, Underwood, picked out
in gold, and I almost rescued one,
hefting it from its nest of empty
whiskey bottles—Wild Turkey,
they were, flock decimated
by the light of burning midnight
oil, but ghosts, I think, prefer
the company of ghosts, that’s why
we seldom see them, but we hear them,
sometimes, typing away at that life
sentence, bars rising with the press
of fingertips on the keys, unlocking
the words: send help.
Elizabeth Gold is the author of the memoir Brief Intervals of Horrible Sanity (Tarcher/Penguin, 2003). Her poems have appeared in many journals, among them Field, the Indiana Review, and the Mid-American Review. A former New Yorker, she is currently living in Edinburgh, Scotland.
“Wild Turkey” appears in our Summer 2010 issue.