Ex Machina

By Linda Gregerson b. 1950 Linda Gregerson
When love was a question, the message arrived
in the beak of a wire and plaster bird. The coloratura   
was hardly to be believed. For flight,

it took three stagehands: two
on the pulleys and one on the flute. And you   
thought fancy rained like grace.

Our fog machine lost in the Parcel Post, we improvised   
with smoke. The heroine dies of tuberculosis after all.   
Remorse and the raw night air: any plausible tenor

might cough. The passions, I take my clues
from an obvious source, may be less like climatic events   
than we conventionalize, though I’ve heard

of tornadoes that break the second-best glassware   
and leave everything else untouched.   
There’s a finer conviction than seamlessness

elicits: the Greeks knew a god
by the clanking behind his descent.
The heart, poor pump, protests till you’d think

it’s rusted past redemption, but
there’s tuning in these counterweights,   
celebration’s assembled voice.

Linda Gregerson, “Ex Machina” from Fire in the Conservatory (Port Townsend, Washington: Dragon Gate, 1982). Copyright © 1982 by Linda Gregerson. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Fire in the Conservatory (Dragon Gate, 1982)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Linda Gregerson b. 1950

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Love, Theater & Dance, Painting & Sculpture, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Romantic Love, First Love, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Linda  Gregerson

Biography

Linda Gregerson is the author of several collections of poetry and literary criticism. A Renaissance scholar, a classically trained actor, and a devotee of the sciences, Gregerson produces lyrical poems informed by her expansive reading that are inquisitive, unflinching, and tender. Tracing the connections she finds between science and poetry, Gregerson says, “I think there are rhythms of thought, fragile propositions about the . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Theater & Dance, Painting & Sculpture, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Romantic Love, First Love, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.