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Resolution, and Travel

From: New England Review
Volume 34, Number 1, 2013
pp. 79-80 | 10.1353/ner.2013.0036

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:


Historian, I keep having this dream where you & I are
machines: a metal fist overcome with daisy heads,
burnt stems collected around metal feet. The fist belongs
to a machine shaped like you & the feet belong to a machine
shaped like me. The you-machine closes its fist & opens its fist
& closes its fist & opens. I am programmed not to wince
at the sound of your hands. I am programmed to enjoy,
to show my metal teeth. Then the daisy heads are dust
& the dust looks like white pollen. It lifts into the air & settles
on my face. This makes me look human instead of machine.
I’m not sure what this means & you don’t recognize
me. You are programmed to attack any moving body
that doesn’t look like me & I know you designed this feature
because sometimes I am too gullible. But now I cannot
speak with you opening my metal chest with your metal
fingers. I’m not programmed to protect myself from you.
I would ask for rain at the expense of rust if I knew how.
But instead my wires are tangled in your metal fingers &
this is how we are for several days, my chest peeled & you
reaching inside until you’re sure the wires are familiar.


Historian, a cage where my chest
should be. Inside it: metal lungs,
a wooden heart that tastes like oak.
Cut in half to see how old I am,
all results are inconclusive. Guess
who can’t count tree rings.
I must’ve missed that year.

Surrounded by doubled-over pines,
I can’t see beyond their needles
on the ground, their needles licking
my arms, their needles hanging on.
Historian, my hands all opened.
Take them please before the wind.

The light posts are candle-shaped
& their bulbs have flames inside.
Technology eclipsing itself,
forgetting its history, Historian.
One of us should write this down.

The moss here is probably older
than we are. Waving at us, it’s hard
to know whether it’s saying goodbye
or hello. Are we arriving or leaving,
Historian? Quickest Answer. Go.

Joshua R. Helms  

Joshua R. Helms’s work has appeared in Copper Nickel, DIAGRAM, Phoebe, Redivider, and Sixth Finch, among other publications. He is the winner of Dzanc Books’ inaugural Poetry Collection Award, and Dzanc will publish his first collection, Machines Like Us, in September 2014.

Copyright © 2013 Middlebury College Publications
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Joshua R. Helms. "Resolution, and Travel." New England Review 34.1 (2013): 79-80. Project MUSE. Web. 8 Jul. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Helms, J. R.(2013). Resolution, and Travel. New England Review 34(1), 79-80. Middlebury College. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Joshua R. Helms. "Resolution, and Travel." New England Review 34, no. 1 (2013): 79-80. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed July 8, 2013).
T1 - Resolution, and Travel
A1 - Joshua R. Helms
JF - New England Review
VL - 34
IS - 1
SP - 79
EP - 80
PY - 2013
PB - Middlebury College
SN - 2161-9131
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/new_england_review/v034/34.1.helms.html
N1 - Volume 34, Number 1, 2013
ER -


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