Revolve [poem] by Donna Masini

Back to the time I watched the watches revolve

in their revolving case, Mr. Weber watching over

in his drug store smock and oily leer

for me to choose—say yes! stop! now!—then press the lever

so my watch stopped and hung

like a Ferris Wheel’s highest rider rocking over

Coney Island. I can stop time, dollface, he’d say, every time, and revel

in his scratchy smock. Not once did I ever

buy a watch. We knew I’d leave with Aqua Velva or

Old Spice (the present for my father.) Now watch time’s reel

spool back along its creaky wheel past fifth grade, third, first and veer

back down the chart of apes that straightened to our fathers. (But where was Eve?)

How right it seemed. I’d dreamed my father was a bear or

some fur-covered thing. Now Mr. Weber was an ape. O

all the world reduced to ore and roe

and nothing but what came before slimy eel and horny vole.

There Mr. Weber rove

the weedy grasses—grabbing at some early version girl. Olé! Olé!

(But where was love?)

Ah the world goes round and still Mr. Weber in his starring role:

King Kong, hairy handed lover

grasping the early girl, watching her shriek and reel

under his eely leer (I can stop time, dollface) forever.


Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

Image by Kathy Drasky

Donna Masini is the author of Turning to Fiction (W.W. Norton and Co. 2004), and That Kind of Danger (Beacon Press, 1994), which won the Barnard Women Poet’s Prize, and the novel, About Yvonne (WW Norton and Co. 1998).  Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies including Poetry, Open City, The Paris Review, APR, Parnassus, Ploughshares, Pushcart Prize, Best American Poetry 2015.  A  recipient of an NEA Fellowship and NYFA Grant, she is a Professor of English at Hunter College where she teaches in the MFA Creative Writing program.  She is at work on a new book of poems, 4:30 Movie and has recently completed a novel, The Good Enough Mother.