Many hands

The day before the fridge broke down
++++I wished it would
++++shut up

As I listened, trying to breathe,
++++the noise separated
I could hear the electrons
++++shocking about in the wires
the liquefied gas gurgling thinly
++++in the pipes
a ringing like a legion of teeny steel hammers
++++beating and beating on teeny steel tubes

It sounded like a mill of miniature machines
++++worked by miniature sweating slaves
The heat exchanger was crammed
++++with tiny miserable elves
They couldn’t get at the food
++++they worked all day to cool
I heard stomachs roaring,
++++lungs gargling, feet shuffling

Many mouths were whispering
++++Many hands began to twist
++++and pull

First published in Ink Sweat & Tears, 8 July 2021