Electrolarynx

My mother and father and I had been lost in the casino

in Reno for a long time now

so had taken to riding an elevator

between floors, between the neon stars

of slot machines, of American loss

 

when we were joined by a man with a hole

in his neck: an American, clearly, because

he held a cane tenderly, and because his body

resembled a set of golf clubs in a suit and because

I was not afraid until he tilted his leather face at us

 

and unzipped his eyes; or until the dark nest

in his neck began moving; or until his hands

slid from his cuffs and held his own throat

and a voice buzzed inside him. Then I was afraid

 

then our silence made a condemned building

of us all. A tremor went through my father’s flying hat

which he wore for he wished others to know

we were here for the air show.

We had been lost for a long time now

 

in the casino in Reno and there was not a one

of us who might assist this throatless man

for we were too busy taking the prize of him home:

in America are humans who have dark matter

inside them, who run on batteries, who speak

 

with the voice of Death’s personal computer. All down the years

I heard my father shouting ‘I’ve never heard anything like it’;

he was doing the voice, all down the years

the voice of the elderly gentleman who also

was lost in a casino in Reno.