Deborah Bayer


I brought it from the cellar,
this neglected desk fan.

It’s my multiply-blocked heart.
I’m the Invisible Woman,

you can see how clogged
my arteries are, but this cage

needs no hard-acrylic casing.
I can see its red and blue

wires right through its spoked face.
Inside sits the greasy dust

that can’t be washed away. There’s
no entry for cleaning

though I try to poke my fingers
between its plastic ribs.

A safety guard would block
the wind, could keep

Odysseus’ ship from blowing
off course as it was

destined to do. The fan switch
is faulty. Take a gentle

approach at the right angle,
or it will break and run

out of control. It will vibrate,
resonate right off the edge.

Put up a barricade of books to stop it.


The Seagull

Gray was a gift (and the gulls’ laughter).
A world of water was the westward road.
Wind and waves wandered ashore
to make a murderous mess of the day.
Rain and runoff ruined my sight.
The windshield wipers whined in vain.
A sea-bird showed sudden, silent before me.
He floated through fog and found his way down
to the rainbow-refracted river of blacktop.
I harbored a hope that his help would come
in the form of a funnel, a favoring updraft,
but no, naught: It was night in midday.
He struck me straight, strong with a thud.
My farewell was fleet, a final side glance
at broken and brittle battle-broad feathers.
No time for a tribute or tune from the pipes
to laud the life of a long-hoverer.

Deborah Bayer (she/her) is a retired Infectious Diseases physician from Atlantic City, NJ. Her poems have appeared in Edison Literary Review, U.S. 1 Worksheets, Juked, The Healing Muse, Levee Magazine, The Stillwater Review, Cider Press Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Rope Made of Bandages, is forthcoming. She is pursuing a Certificate of Professional Achievement in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. You can reach her on her website at https://harmonycommllc.com or on Twitter @dbayerdo.