Lake Effect, Spring 2016, Volume 20: "The Glass Typewriter"

The Glass Typewriter

by David Shumate

for William Stafford


The dead and the unborn use it to shuttle messages back and forth across the dark frontiers. The ancient scriptures were typed on such machines which is how we know what Buddha said about desire and what Jesus whispered to his donkey as they trotted into Jerusalem. Sometimes a grand intelligence befalls a bear and it taps these delicate keys with its claws to tell us how the other breeds vote. When you venture deeply into your dreams and hear room after room of glass typewriters clicking away, you’ve crossed over into the territory of the soul. Here there is only one letter in the alphabet. And though it seems there are thousands of stories to tell, there’s really just the one.