This Economy of Claws

Poetry Andrew Seguin

So many hearts / sputter to pump in the hospital / like organists playing from a reef
My fortune little more than silver flakes
                          I scrape from a lotto ticket in the curbside sun
the day opens an account

                          and a cast-off mirror makes karaoke of the street
(the square of objects refracted)
                          last night’s snow was a false forecast

but the cold shows its evidence, breath
                          a winter metaphysical where the scale measures
capacity to morph back to atmosphere

                          now that coal dust and ignominious gas
clog the birdways and so many hearts
                          sputter to pump in the hospital

like organists playing from a reef
                          I didn’t win the millions and she didn’t
win the millions and he didn’t even play

                          guarding his dollar for soda
or the claw game outside the bodega
where he pays to guide a mechanical hand

                          to catch the fauna of a boxed-off world
                          as if the human body conducts
such commerce so poorly or well

                          it wouldn’t be fair to the pastel animals
stacked softly in their hut
                          if we reached our hands directly in

to where we made them be stuck and plush
                          so we could feel their chance at liberty
become our chance cheaply

                          the nature of jackpots
is to burn the palm
                          or not to come at all
No. 24

No. 24


Andrew Seguin, a poet and photographer, is the author of the chapbook Black Anecdote (Poetry Society of America).


A Public Space is an independent magazine of literature and culture. It was founded in 2006. You can read more about the magazine’s history and mission - click here.


A one-year subscription to A Public Space includes three issues of the magazine as well as access to the online archive, where you can read sold-out issues, the newest content, and everything in between

For Just


Subscribe Today

A Public Space
323 Dean Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

General Information
Subscription Help