If You Can 3D-Print a House, Why Not a Poem? by Dick Altman

If You Can 3D-Print a House, Why Not a Poem?

If You Can 3D-Print a House, Why Not a Poem?

by Dick Altman

I’d begin with an Aspen here at seven thousand feet. Very
popular, the quaking kind, but not easy to grow, or survive,
below two-miles or so in altitude. Why bother, I can see you
thinking. I’d print one fully grown, perhaps twenty-five feet,
deep rooted, thick of crown, broadly trunked. Next to it a boulder,
and not just any boulder—one the size and circular conformation
of a small asteroid, say, two tons, gun-metal gray, faintly pocked.
Perfect: a vertical, counterpoised against a sphere. Soothing
geometry for the couple I print sitting on the bench, below
the shivering leaves. You of course recognize the two of us.
Not from today, I decide,…twenty-five years ago. Words tumble
from the printer. I’m leaving, you say. I know what you expect me
to say. Words I’ve repeated many times, entreating, tender, loving.
Even as you walk out the door. Even when you return days later.
I’m leaving, the printer spits out again. This time the machine,
as if with a mind of its own, and without hesitation, whispers,
Good bye…Good bye and I’m sorry. As I walk into the newly
printed house and close the door.


Dick Altman writes in the high, thin, magical air of Santa Fe, NM, where, at 7,000 feet, reality and imagination often blur. He is published in the Santa Fe Literary Review, American Journal of Poetry, Haunted Waters Press, and many others, here and abroad. He is a poetry winner of the Santa Fe New Mexican’s annual literary competition. His first collection of poems, Voices in the Heart of Stones, is being considered for publication.

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