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From Waiting to Burn, Templar Poetry, 2006

A Guided Tour

We asked to see the mechanism.
Asked if he would show us how
it worked, this exquisite machine.

Cogs turned, clean and golden;
oiled springs, fine-coiled stamen
quivered in our minds as we imagined.

But he frowned, his brow like
the sky, and with huge, jealous,
delicate hands, he hid his design,
as if afraid we might cheapen it
with ham-fisted home-made attempts.

Behind his hands the catch snapped
shut. It echoed round his workshop,
rattled screws in the countless devices
that spun and circled us like questions.

One of us nodded. We all nodded,
agreed, of course, this was for the best,
each one with his hand in his pocket,
each one fingering his lock-pick.

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