by Belinda Roddie
Pull the plug right out of my skull,
and watch me bleed out code. The old
man sits with the head of his son in his
lap. The jaw is solid steel. His daughter
knits her father a scarf. Outside, the wind
screeches like a data transfer.
I want to be disconnected from
the world that has been built from wires
and computer chips and motherboards, all
of them deprived of actual mothers. They will
never feel the heat of milk simmering in their
cooled, metallic bellies. And helium
is a poor substitute for Mama's nourishment.
If I send a letter to a friend, how long before
they write back in the cold tundra of a fascist
regime? Perhaps it will return to me with entire
sentences blocked out in black. My heart is
censored so it only beats so many times per
minute - any faster, they tell me, and I risk death.
My brain can only hold so much memory; they
tell me that soon, everything else will catch up.
But I am ready to die before my body is built
from silicon rather than carbon, and food doesn't
taste right to me, and water burns my tongue,
and hiking in the woods is too easy, and getting
to know a stranger becomes too difficult, and I
no longer know the value of sleep, and I no longer
know the value of dreams, and San Francisco looks
no different than Tokyo, Dubai a clone of Moscow,
Manhattan: Atlantis's illegitimate son. And the oceans
rise high enough that I can swim in them, so don't let
me short-circuit, but instead allow me to breathe,
and cry, and think, and finally, scream.