The Ecphorizer

On Rising Early in the City
Polly Pitkin Ryan

Issue #33 (May 1984)

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 shirtsleeves 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 change,
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?

Polly Pitkin Ryan has long been regarded hereabouts as the first lady of letters in San Francisco Regional Mensa.  She may even have been one of the first to write letters, as a member of this group since its founding.

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