Faith Henley Padgett


                 after “Erratic” by Julien Charrière at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2022

Dreaming, I reenter the art installation alone, pass a staged
still of the artist blowtorching an iceberg, and confront two 
projections of ice— one whole wall, one levitating— and 
the deafening of their grainy, low-frequency crush, the groan 
of flow, static and grinding— I’m disoriented by the scope— 
craters the size of fingernails, cavernous glaciers miles wide, 
are indistinguishable, churning, on loop, captured by a drone 
flying backwards, slowly, two flashlights its crossed, stunned 
eyes, spotlighting— it should be invisible, until it isn’t, in a shot 
of water still enough to reflect it bobbing under ancient blue-white, 
rippling, backing up from the film, the screens— it’s in the exhibit 
where its gaze turns from ice to me— my hands become hands 
controlled from a console by someone awake— the ice-noise 
screams— the player selects a weapon, arms me with it— the drone— 

I wake swinging punches into the night’s still and empty air. 

Faith Henley Padgett is a poet, educator, and maker. She currently teaches for the Museum of Children's Art, and has previously taught for the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College and Milk Press of the Poetry Society of New York. She co-directed the 2021 Sarah Lawrence Poetry Festival, and her work has appeared in The Western Humanities Review, Hanging Loose, Permafrost, and Red Cedar Review, among others. After earning her MFA from Sarah Lawrence and BA from the University of Pennsylvania, Faith has relocated to San Francisco, unceded to the Muwekma, Ohlone, & Ramaytush people, where she gets inky running letterpresses and fiddling with type.