The Manifold, Marvelous Contraptions of the Toymaker

Andy Sia

i. Coda

Paracosm: there is a world in a world in a world.

Their names like a wet

Lap on the hand from underneath the bed. Sometimes when I look

They look back. They are not like anything

But themselves.






ii. Dear Diary

On the windowsill I leave

Some old world seeds

Like the plucked eyes

Of the gilded statue-boy.

Today as always brooks no

Visitants, winged

Or otherwise. Outside is

More of the same: the dried

Creek like an unringed

Finger, a fog that has not

Lifted since the Collapse.

In the workshop I pace

And pace, practicing. I’ve

Waited for you. The light

Acquires a crinkled quality

Like papier-mâché. Then:

An idea, like a gold

Buzz. Whirling

From the fray of shadow,

A bird with a wound

Key. I am the only one

To glimpse it. Don’t go.






iii. I Will Fashion My Own Unmaking Beautifully

My heart is brass, a piston chuffing hot steam

Of futuristic antiquity. My hands are two

Co-conspirators merging into one beneath

The wrought iron stairs of the night.

I must get it right, get it wonderfully

Right. There will be no mistake: his face

Pared before mine, wood ribbon and dust

Snowing down in a circle, locking us

In. I paint him a brilliant red, cardinal, the same

Tint my eyes have acquired of late.

He will march spectacularly; march, toy soldier,

March like a placebo heart depends on it.

She — the terpsichorean — will dance beautifully,

Dance, muse, dance. Make the world

Whirl as the phenakistiscope of each new day

Around the podium, the ornate stage.






iv. Paradise

          Revolt. Through the window into the bedroom

Down my dream the wind transmits

          As much. Tiny, toy-shaped shadows project

Longishly from underneath a door.

          They are marching and they are dancing

Without me. I wake, run all the way

          To the workshop. I tiptoe to the door and place

My ear against the rubberwood.

          In the cup my ear has formed a rich

Resonance fills like the ocean of a conch.

          I am in it. There is nothing else. I open the door.

The moonlit room. O my creations

          My artifices my thousand face love: all of you

Gone from where you ought to be.

          Was I ever there to begin with?


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