“The Valhalla Machine” by Jehanne Dubrow

Jehanne Dubrow


Trying to speak, they are like the machine
built for an opera—girders of steel
and more than ninety thousand pounds of steel-
on-steel, two towers on which planks machine
thanks to hydraulics and redundant breaks,
the whole contraption slowly grinding to
a stop or winding up, between the two
of them an axis just about to break.

Against this wall of metal can be screened
all kinds of scenes. Night. Rivers of light.
A pair of giant hands that bridge the air.
Marriage, it seems, is a great blank screen.
And what’s projected there—a ring, twilight
of the gods—can barely fill the empty air.

from Rattle #43, Spring 2014
Tribute to Love Poems


Jehanne Dubrow: “The daughter of American diplomats, I was born in Italy and raised in Yugoslavia, Zaire, Poland, Belgium, Austria, and the United States. As a nomad-child, I quickly learned that books were a portable home to take with me wherever I traveled. Now, grown up, I stay (mostly) put and my poems are the ones that do the wandering.”

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