Factory Infirmary

          Based on an original photograph by Old Grumpy Mark Kyle

J. Lynne Price

A lighthearted song about sacrifice
is hummed over the intercom.

I watch an asbestos shingle falling and I
am breathing.

Strapped to this stretcher,
I watch

flecks of tracking
fuzz on the screen—

Tell me when to breathe.
Please speak to me calmly.

Not in that whisper,
more like a hypnotist. Please.

Pull out these repressed visions
of calves drowned in the creek

—their limp bodies balanced perfectly
on the prongs of a forklift.

There is no reckoning
with these memories now.

I am changing the shadows on the wall
with my remote control

while everything is getting patched up
on the other side of it.

J. Lynne Price is a mother living in York, PA, where she spends her free time listening to old music, watching art films, and writing weird poems. She holds a B.A. in creative writing from SUNY Purchase College and spent seven years as a professional marketing copywriter before becoming a managing editor for several national associations.

© Variant Literature Inc 2021