Toys Turned on a Lathe

Alice Fulton

Here in the north of northeverything was formed by what ice didto the land, and darkness is redundant.Night fills each mullion,pressing itself into eachcorner of each pane.Like time it is everywhereand has no edges. I sensethere's something largethat doesn't love us well.Is it officious as chancellor? It isan omniscience == a big thinkpiece that must I think consortwith wickedness.But I am not its invigilator.If I dim the inside, night will thinand let me glimpse the quakingforms outside. I find youmust create a likeness ofthe dark for darkto disappear. It requires a certain obeisance?If it senses kinship it will yield ==though only the spinningiron crystal at earth's corecould be more noir. There is a powerat large that doesn't love us well.It has a knowledge,though I am not its proctor.Everything here was formed by what ice didto the mind. This is dark thinking.Light might thinkthere's so much try to you. Stop crying.In this interglacial moment,you're in good flesh. Nox is nothingbut a sealed ark of ornaments.When day breaks full of detailssafe as toys turned on a lathe,light predicts the innocentwill have a constellation named for themas they any minute should.There is darkness still behind the dark.There is darkness. Still behind the darkthere might be shining on all sides.

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Headshot of Alice Fulton

Alice Fulton is the author of ten books, most recently Barely Composed: Poems. Her honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, the Bobbitt Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress, and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award. She lives in upstate New York.

"Joy and grief circle warily in this nimble collection from one of America’s marquee poets, who balances philosophical intensity with deft wordplay."
The New York Times Book Review

"Fulton masterfully and lyrically levels with anguish... These layered, rich poems expand and test the possibilities of language while offering hope for joy and recovery."
Publishers Weekly

"Fulton is one of the wisest and most insightful poets in the country. The profundity of her verse sometimes comes through long explorations, sometimes in single lines. 'To witness constant miracle is a distraction,' she writes. Let yourself be distracted by her."
—Ron Charles , Washington Post Book Club

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