Northwords Now Issue 37

The FREE literary magazine of the North

The Ink Machine

by David Mark Williams

What keeps him up here drifting on darkness
at the lit window, awake in the small hours,
his shadow rolled over the ceiling,

scratching words into wax coated paper,
the scent of mulberry on his hands?

Will it work, his bright idea, his flatbed?
No thought now for tomorrow’s hullabaloo,
its froth and frenzy, a floor unsteady as an ice floe
littered with paper slips,
the day’s compounded errors.

He’s got something else to prove.
Ink gleams through the cut letters
and with each sweep, copy after copy will hold true.

He’s cranking up a revolution no one
will feel inclined to throw their hat into the air for,
his name a machine recognised everywhere,

once only a spark, a gleam from the time
he stood on street corners selling kites
for children to tie their hearts to.