Poem with Fingerprints by Ryler Dustin


Here’s a poem dark with fingerprints,

all the fingerprints that touched the paper it’s on

and made the machines that took the pulp

that had once been wood held by gloves

with secret sweating fingerprints inside.

Here’s a poem dark with the prints of hands

that made the machines that made the machines

that fitted, chiseled, greased and glowed until these words

were boiled down, perfect bound and set

on a shelf in this lonely lit mega-bookstore

for your fingerprints to pick up and touch.

A spot’s been saved right here

near the middle of the page

so it’s you who finally closes this yawn of grease

that’s only human love and work and tarnish.

Ryler Dustin is a recent graduate of the University of Houston’s MFA Program, a winner of Inprint’s Verlain Poetry Prize, and has been a finalist in the Individual World Poetry Slam. He teaches for Houston nonprofits Writers in the Schools and Project Row Houses and hopes to visit his hometown of Bellingham, Washington sometime soon.