Push the button. Inside, the fiberglass slab

begins a slow polka, flotsam on churning blades.

Puffs of toxic cotton coruscate in the ribbed tube

that beanstalks through a high notch into the attic,

Easy-Bake oven perched atop the parched house

where the husband slathers the rafters in pink fluff.

The air fills with the glinting stuff. Each breath

works it into his lungs' palpitant tissues.


You are to watch the hunk subside

on the flapping wheel, feed compacted batting

into the chute, catch and slice the heavy plastic

on an interior blade and work it from the hugged clump.

The sun's witchy dazzle steams you in your mask

and green kitchen gloves, the west pinched in drought

like Ariel in his cloven pine.  You split the corpsey

packages, crack open their gritty sugar cores.


Feed yourself into the machine, toss and roll

on vows' creaky wheels. Shredded, aerated,

sprayed to coat an attic, to moderate

the heat and cold. You stuff the chute 

five, six, seven times, until a voice from the turret

faint through the industrial hum: Enough!

Enough! and a gritty nimbus rises from out the rafters

like a cotton candy doomsday cloud.


Sharon L. Kunde is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of California, Irvine. Her research, which centers on nineteenth-century American literature, shares with her poetry a concern with embodiment, relationality, nonhuman animals, and materiality. She lives in Altadena, California, with her husband, two sons, one dog, eight chickens, and many, many ants.