Jamaal May

Jamaal May
JamaaL May's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Indiana Review, Atlanta Review, The MacGuffin, Verse Daily, and The Collagist among other magazines and anthologies. He has received a Pushcart nomination, an International Publication Prize from Atlanta Review, and a Cave Canem Fellowship. Jamaal is an M.F.A. candidate at Warren Wilson College and teaches poetry in public schools through the Inside Out Literary Arts Project.

Mechanophobia: Fear Of Machines

There is no work left for the husks.
Automated welders like us,
your line replacements, can't expect
sympathy after our bright
arms of cable rust over. Come

collect us for scrap, grind us up
in the mouth of one of us.
Let your hand pry at the access
panel with the edge of a knife,
silencing the motor, the thrum.

It should be you digging into guts
among fistfuls of wire. Clutch,
pull until the LEDs go dark.
Our insides may be the jagged
gears of clocks you don't realize

function until the blade gets stuck.
The current that sparks, scrambles up
fingertips, hurrying to your heart
will not come as a hot, ragged
light—you won't notice when it arrives.

There is always a way to touch
the insides. A way to disrupt
any machine. Even one that
breathes. Listen, we become quiet
like a florescent light gone dim.

You fear the chassis that was struck
by lightning can't be wholly crushed.
You should. Fear the radios left in scrap
yards—still brimming with circuit
and hum. Such a mechanical hymn.