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My grandfather once
gave me a little
machine.

“You could count all the faces
and all the birds in the sky
on this machine,” he told me.

“You could count
every hair
on my body

and every hand
that has ever existed

on this machine.

It is all recorded,

the misfortunes
of all grandmothers

and even the
triumphs of an ant
have been
acknowledged
by the machine.”

Loath to let it go
he turned from me
and hurried inside.

    Left alone
with his machine

I found the answer
  to who my father
    was

        and if I would
ever be held by loving hands.

I learned why my cousin
    took his life

and why I couldn’t take
    mine.

When I closed the machine
        briefly,

  my grandfather shouted,
      “Never close it!
It needs to keep counting!”



Angel Leal is a Mexican nonbinary writer from Texas. A devout lover of fruit and fungus, they are working towards becoming a middle school teacher and growing old with their partner, who seems to prefer vegetables. Poetry has helped them build fantasies out of grief and imagine a different tomorrow.
Current Issue
15 Aug 2022

You turned and Hailé was hunched by the counter, holding the Rift in his bare stomach together with his hands.
Their eyes trace the curves of our gears / like birds eyeing the shoreline and we / recite the songs our makers wrote
During recess, we would fight all the time.
Friday: Appliance by J. O. Morgan 
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