NO PREDICTABLE MALFUNCTION
by Colin Dodds
The bar smelled like an ex-girlfriend’s breath.
And I was like Belgium in the 20th century—
just waiting for someone to violate my neutrality.
I had little room to maneuver;
the market of the heart
had been rebuilt for efficiency,
its work outsourced
and its meager glory distributed
to chromosomes, glands, and early sufferings.
The man next to me makes sense,
but only over long spans of time.
He spits a whole failed life onto my sleeve.
I cross the bridge alone at night,
howling and gesturing
like a failed sorcerer.
The moving parts
of my squalid heart lurch
according to no predictable malfunction.
Colin Dodds grew up in Massachusetts and completed his education in New York City. He’s the author of several novels, including Windfall and The Last Bad Job, which the late Norman Mailer touted as showing “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.” Dodds’ screenplay, Refreshment, was named a semi-finalist in the 2010 American Zoetrope Contest. His poetry has appeared in more than a hundred publications, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Samantha. You can find more of his work at thecolindodds.com.