The backward alchemist turned
her gold into brass buttons
and a soldier back into a carpenter
who uses power saws with the power off.

She traded her Smith-Wesson-Corona
for an acoustic typewriter and grinds
typewriter ribbons into ink
and bites (not shoots) the bullets
into pen nibs.

She started a political movement
called Global Sloth and she hangs
around with her buddies
messing with guitars
forgetting all the songs.

The backward alchemist changed her wine
into water for small, white grapes;
her dollars back to paper;
her blankets into sheep.

She wrinkles creases out of her pants
and crawls the clean out of the knees
as she nails, BAM, tap, BAM, tap,
undoing the broken house.

I've gone from planting speedy radishes
to peas, to green beans, to slow carrots,
oh, what the hell, two-year delphiniums!
And lunaria, the Honesty plant, for she
has turned me back
into someone who likes tomorrow.


published in Xenophilia