Patron Poem: "Innervation"
Happy November! Your poem this month is the first digital publication of this poem, "Innervation", which was published in print-only by The Future Fire for their TFF-X anthology in December 2015.

This post will become public Nov 29.

Photo by Mary Salome, cropped; CC-BY 2.0


Hir first efforts had been clumsy,

creatures of bundled nails and gobbed solder

inelegantly bumbling toward the refrigerator. 

Prototypes. Now ze works in wire:

thread-thin, coiled, shining russet

like an afternoon in early autumn,

harvest-time gathered and spun

as fine as cobweb. It puts hir mouse-brown hair

to shame; ze doesn't mind.

In the womb we grow rostral-caudal, medio-lateral -

beak to tail and inside out. In the lab, 

the construct grows up from its fingertips.

With jewellers' tools, its creator blunts the end 

of each snipped wire to a tiny flattened head, 

a delicate copper nail, a pin then set amongst its fellows

in a rounded cluster, a constellation, a thistle blossom,

its prints emerging more pointillist than whorl.

Where wire-stems meet ze plies them:

clockwise, widdershins, clockwise again,

strands building upon strands, into knuckles,

into wrists, into arms. It has no skin

and needs no bones; it stands on nerve alone.

(Save for one: its spine, a solenoid ascending,

filled with all the stubbornness of iron.)

The current flows. Urged on by its lodestone, 

the copper creature bristles: each tiny filament 

as lively as if goosebumped. Its head is a wire cloud, 

intricate, organic, a chaos-theory temari 

bright with jumping sparks. Nearby speakers whine and crackle 

to its pulse, and the ancient monitor dances,

its screen a warped rainbow. The flickers fade.

The golem merely stands: all cabled limb

and delicate metallic fur, hammered pin-heads 

bouncing light between. It seems to shimmer.

Ze reaches, and the speaker-hum quickens.

It sways toward hir like a vine toward the light.

It is warm to the touch - but ze feels no sting, no shock,

just a thousand-thousand tiny prickles

as animated wires meet, for the first time,

the shifting boundaries of skin.

Toby macnutt released this post 9 days early for patrons.   Become a patron