Deus ex Machina 

Greg Rappleye

             A deus ex machina will never appear in real life

             so you best make other arrangements.


                                        -Marisha Pessl,

                                          Special Topics in Calamity Physics (2006)


Within a pastel Tilt-a-Whirl, 

a spinning-dizzy teacup, the carnies take 

their smirking turns, astonishing the virgins.


This—coming to know centrifugal force—

was a tale of my ’50’s. Afterwards 

came heavy water, Dagmar, and the long betrayal

of the Rosenbergs. Don’t worry.


Pythagoras said, Above the clouds

and their shadows, shines a star with its light.

Ergo, each right triangle whispers the story 

of Tobias, with God at his Pole Star 

jacking the clutch, and Raphael in-irons, at the furthest point

of the hypotenuse—rapturous,

dragging celestial chains along the beach.


Avast, me Hearties!


Endless this infinity, because there simply is no end.

At the ill you have done Lord, be troubled,

and rejoice in the good. Above the droughty field,


beyond the Gainsborough blues of the loll-headed chicory,

the sea crows wheel and fall upon the corn.

Greg Rappleye’s second collection of poems, A Path Between Houses (University of Wisconsin Press, 2000) won the Brittingham Prize in Poetry. His third collection, Figured Dark (University of Arkansas Press, 2007) was first runner-up for the Dorset Prize and was published in the Miller Williams Poetry Series. His fourth collection, Tropical Landscape with Ten Hummingbirds, was published by Dos Madres Press in October, 2018. He teaches in the English Department at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.