February 2002

Lisa Gluskin


Lisa Gluskin's work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Red Rock Review, and Mississippi Review. She lives in San Francisco, where lately she's been writing poems inspired by street signs and theoretical cosmology.
The Secret Lives of Objects 

My friend, the engineer, sees hurt machines—
a car grinding its gears, a discarded vise—
and aches. He knows what they know.

The rusted fan, the flea-market eggbeater
share all innocent objects' silence. They speak, 
are heard, only through us; need us

like we needed the gods, the animating breath
of their care and caprice. The burnishing
or breaking of their use. Objects, my friend says,

they long for patina, and I think of my shelf at home,
the levels and files, my grandfather's folding ruler
and the plumb bob in the window, swaying

above the jamb. We look and say file or flashlight,
wooden spoon or CPU. We explain them,
and they look to us, mute, fallible—

as if they were looking for something simple.
As if what they were looking for
never tarnished, never fell.



Lisa Gluskin: Poetry
Copyright © 2002 The Cortland Review Issue 19The Cortland Review