In particular, a can of tomato paste
which fits in my hand like a roll of bills.
The opener wobbles on its small circumference.
Inside, a condensation.
No need for adjectives.
This is the thing itself.
Well, that’s one way to say it.
But it is factory-forged.
Someone thought of making it
and then built the machines to make it.
Boiling down tomato
into something new.
You see what I mean.
The clockwork bird in the ginkgo tree.
The briefest lamentation.
Or this little can of residue.
All are out of nature.
They mean what I see.
Or maybe, on a good day,
what you see, too.
Fill your cart and take it all home.
Ann Shaffer’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Free State Review, and elsewhere. Her essays, reviews, and stories have been published in a variety of outlets. She has written and edited many books on technology and science.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.