Sheila-Na-Gig online


Travis Stephens

TravisTravis Stephens was raised on a dairy farm. He earned a degree at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, before departing for the West Coast. A sea captain, he now resides in California. His work has appeared recently in STONEBOAT REVIEW, CROSSWINDS POETRY JOURNAL, SOUTHWORD, HAVIK, APEIRON REVIEW and PENNSYLVANIA ENGLISH. Online his was a Poem of the Week for Silver Needle Press and poems appeared in INK & VOICES, RUE SCRIBE and HCE REVIEW.


Back home, after, at her studio
she set aside the paints,
the illustrated fish project,
all of the fabrics and canvases.
Put on Dixie Chicks, volume low
so that it was a box of murmurs.
Cleared the work bench and then
put on a cup of tea. None of this
is kid’s play. It’s a small thing, but powerful.
Copper won’t do, and cast iron too heavy.
Begin with a block of nylon,
ultrahigh molecular plastic, stable
to drill and machine.
Stainless steel bolts, sheets of neoprene.
Solenoids, Check valves, worm gear clamps.
As with comedy, timing is everything;
she had taken a course in auto mechanics,
found her notes on coils and distributors.
That was to work on her Jetta, old thing.
This device has got to run smooth.
Head down, she sculpted and drilled,
kept her hair tied back and ignored the
foul, salty taste of doubt.
None of this is easy.
In the end, it’s only a pump.
Ugly and awkward,
a collection of parts and pieces,
this kinetic sculpture to replace the dead,
helpless thing where her heart used to be.
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