Backlash

One thing follows another,
as sure as teeth mesh
with teeth, the pinion turns the gear,
the axle drives the wheel and the world
tumbles forward on its pivot:
Some things are reversible,
allowing for the unavoidable backlash,
a little play, a wiggle in the works,
a slap in the gears, the jerk of each car
as the train gets underway,
the taking up of slack
and the moment
just before reversal,
the holding of breath, the gasp,
the lash, the slop, the stop.

7/28/2009

Backlash