The Ecphorizer

On Rising Early in the City
Polly Pitkin Ryan

Issue #54 (February 1986)

Dawn comes like construction machinery, promising change,
Casting a hard-edged light on hard-edged men. Construction crews
Shouting with hoarse voices amid roaring engines and thermos jugs
of coffee
Set about shaping the earth in the image of man,
Reading the future from blueprints.
Dawn comes with blinding diffractions through frosted glass windows,
Igniting arrays of drafting boards in monasteries of engineering,
Whose monks with white shirtsleves and hairy forearms
Capture and harness invisible forces, consult little thought-machines,
draw measured lines.
Out of tracing paper and silence they create new worlds.
Dawn comes casting shadows of secretaries across shiny desks
cluttered with messages
Directing, requesting, regretting, and thanking you for your order
Which will change the face of the earth by ever so little,
And nothing will ever again be the same.
Dawn comes in my window with hard edges and pale eyes, promising
And I ask what are you going to change today,
And Dawn in the mirror looks back at me, what are you going to change?

Poet POLLY PITKIN RYAN lives in Berkeley, CA, where she hosts a justly famous annual Hot Buttered Rum party.

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