Van Winckel is the author of five books of poetry, most recently No Starling (University of Washington). Among her many honors and awards are two NEA Fellowships, a Pushcart Prize, two Washington State Artist Trust Awards, and awards from the Poetry Society of America, Poetry, and Prairie Schooner. Her work has appeared widely in journals and magazines. She has also published three collections of short stories. Van Winckel teaches in the MFA programs at Eastern Washington University and at Vermont College. As Bucknell’s 2009 Poet-in-Residence, she will teach a poetry workshop during the spring semester.
Nance Van Winckel
Simone Weil at the Renault Factory (1935)
A thread in a line of threads, she stands
at the far end of her self. Eyelets and inlets,
divots for ingots. Migraines are the grain
of the day. In the awl’s hollows, the nothing
God is to teach us the nothing we are.
The coupe is a cave. Go in and kneel
on its seat. Hands tool the tools
without us: to work to eat; to eat to work.
Where are the streets for such vehicles? Not yet
made. Where’s the fuel to make go Go?
Underground, still pressing itself to become itself.
Punched-in lead holes; the head aches
when it’s emptied out. A cold outside
comes in. The coupe is a cave.
Shine its horn; buff its blast.
The cave wheels forth—God,
where is it going? Into more rat-a-tat-
tat. More hands, less us; more air
in the airguns, less loud the heart.
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