Selectric II

If plugged in again, it might still hum,
warm to life with a steady purr.
Perhaps its “golf ball” will swirl, too,
resuming an orbit preordained
by the alphabet’s gravitational pull.
Should a reserve of ink remain,
backspacing, past mistakes could be
erased and simply replaced.
Self-corrected at the strike of a key,
my hastily written term papers
upgraded to the status of exceptional.
But should its keyboard respond
yet to the fingers’ familiar tap dance,
the great American novel once
dreamt of in youth will not emerge.
Encasing that steel planet,
the alphabet’s soupy atmosphere,
though shocked by electricity
remains unbreathable on the page.


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