• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 08
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The freckle counting machine

I am working out how to send
time-delayed, spring-drenched kisses
to my interlocutor, power-basking in
the canyons and spits of Laurel.

Already rejected: the silver rocket
powered by verdigris afterburn,
ridden by a certain Miss Lula Mae,
wearing a neon basque, downhome smile.

The Heath Robinson in me lightbulbs
and starts to disassemble an abacus
leftover from times of dreams of solvency.
Blueprinted in memory’s patent office

and now ready to head into love’s
workshop: a freckle counting machine!
Robustly retrofitted with teenage tricks,
expertly engineered to aid first fumblings,

this marvel of mechanical longing
will slalom all over skin, distinguishing
mark and mole, blemish and scar,
and lodge in ledgers the number

of bits of you that are colour-matched
with me. But of more pressing concern –
how to avoid stridulation when my
contraption is operationalized. Down


The freckle counting machine

the blue bird line, the niceties are verified
then ticked away. ‘How cool is coldness?’
the machine asks as it sputters up.
‘Who cares?’ she inputs. ‘Start counting.’