Old Mattresses

Sometimes you find them in the woods
like sleeping bodies abandoned by their dreamers.

Even out where roads slip from their ligature

and the foundations of mining towns
gaze unblinkingly at the stars,

you find this rusted bullion of coils.

The rush is over. The crowd moved on
when the flickering died out.

Their beds were left to break down in the rain.
Their beds were left for other conflagrations.

Whoever was kept awake by a sound
through the wall like a deathwatch—

Whatever body was withheld from earth—

No matter, now.

When the fire came, the coils poured
from the disintegrating fabric—

writhing in their own dream of flight.

Previously published in Pleiades.

Carol Quinn’s poetry has appeared in Western Humanities Review, The Cincinnati Review, Pleiades, and elsewhere. Acetylene, Quinn’s first book of poems, appeared in 2010 and was the recipient of the Cider Press Review Book Award.

Object(s) to bring back to life: “Your question is an intriguing one, in part because you ask what “objects” I’d like to “bring back to life.” This suggests that these objects were once alive and are now, well, only objects. So I guess I’d like to bring a fossil of Archaeopteryx back to life. Was it warmblooded or coldblooded? Did it really have feathers or are those impressions, as a few have claimed, late manmade additions to the fossil? And what color was it? Did it have a song? And under what circumstances did flight evolve; what sorts of events or stimuli might have caused this thing to leap–only to find that it would not fall? Or perhaps I haven’t learned the lessons reiterated by Jurassic Park or the various permutations of Frankenstein. In that case, I’d like to bring back a whole host of lost silent films, starting with Theda Bara’s Cleopatra.”