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Automaton in the Plenum Desert

We bad for machines. We can’t depend on fingers.

We can postcard into mock rainforests

but no one wants to tell

how hurt they really are.

We bad for soil. We sphinx into machines

and call them He Who Has Silhouette Even in Dark.

He said what I would not give

for a little less giving.

I crowned him with salt.

Took the mask off long plenum fields.

Kit, my friend,

here is a way of becoming narrow.

The mouth shot hot water into the good Catholics

until they hung in the air like balloons.

The mouth brings him good news from upriver

it lays out the knives one by one.

Kit tells the old lady its swamp or war

and we’d better book it.

Then in my hands I was a stranger.

Then in his hands the moon was a milky smoke.

Before sustaining there is underground water.

His war is a holy war. He Who Oxidizes.

He Who Scatters the Animals. He Who Pulls

Feathers from My Mouth When I Speak.


Mike Bagwell is a writer and software engineer in Philly. He received an MFA from Sarah Lawrence and his work appears or is forthcoming in ITERANT, Sprung Formal, Heavy Feather Review, HAD, trampset, Halfway Down the Stairs, Bodega, Okay Donkey, and others, some kindly nominating him for a Pushcart. He is the author of the chapbooks A Collision of Soul in Midair (Bottlecap Press 2023), Or Else They Are Trees, and a micro When We Look at Things We Steal Their Color and Grow Heavy Under Their Weight (Rinky Dink Press 2024). See more at and @low_gh0st

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