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Jane Zwart

I cry watching a montage of robots falling down

Once I went back to a drugstore to buy a second umbrella, 

its crook handle a duck’s neck, an umbrella identical 


to the one I had bought, except broken, a jagged tile 

knocked from its retrousse bill; on account of that flaw 


I had passed it over; it didn’t look like a kid who had lost 

a tooth; it looked like a kid with a tooth cracked in half; 


at home with my perfect umbrella, I felt rueful; I felt like 

I’d snubbed someone sad. 

                                           You could call it a pattern. 


Once I parked, half in goldenrod, half in gravel, to retrieve 

a pink horse dropped on the highway, not my sons’, 


not mine, and re-screening Star Wars, I weep most 

reliably over the droids’ demise.


. . . 


                                                         I cannot explain why 

the creaturely move me more, sometimes, than mortals, 


why sometimes I can steel myself against flesh–see cords 

of corpse and go, unshattered, on–but not against steel 


golems falling down. 

                                           The beginning I can bear, the part 

where a bot lists on turf too soft or buckles at the knees 


or clatters sideways, a knob ripped fresh from a door 

in its grip. No, when I say I cry watching a montage 


of robots falling down, I mean I cry watching robots trying 

to right themselves, baffled by their own heavy brains.

Zwart, Jane_2020.06.07-high res-16_websize - Jane Zwart.jpg


Jane Zwart teaches at Calvin University, where she also co-directs the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Threepenny Review, The Poetry Review (UK), and TriQuarterly, as well as other journals and magazines. She also writes book reviews — most recently for Plume and Tupelo Quarterly — and has published edited versions of on-stage interviews with writers including Christian Wiman, Amit Majmudar, and Zadie Smith.

Bear Review


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