The Beginner’s Guide to Model Making


My father built ships in bottles, histories
in aquariums, filled the second-storey
guest room with Waterloo reconceived
in Plasticine. Each miniature world

was malleable, rippled by his fingers’
ridges, dimpled under the pressure
of his thumbs. Nights, he slept among
acrylic casualties, the plastic death masks

of the Light Brigade, an incendiary
forest of matchstick trees. I dream of him,
sailing a small skiff on a Cellophane sea;
I am to follow, but no instructions

are conveyed. From this, I infer
our dream is a peaceful one, of art
imitating life, imitating art: a perpetual-motion
machine, stone-still to the amateur’s eye.

This appeared in the March 2015 issue.

Michael Prior is a writer and poet. His first collection of verse, Model Disciple, was published by Véhicule Press in 2016.

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