The sunny streets are not set in the current time.
They are time-lapsed, so that the neighbor swinging
a golf club on his fake grass is doing so ten years before—
my computer is poised to ram itself through the window,
a cord awaits to be pulled out of its socket, the whole
trailing mess sucked toward the end of the Solar System.
There, a camera records the entire episode, a bomb disposal robot
will inspect the landing site in about three hundred years
before a troop of scientist explorers excavate the site.
They will find a hole emitting a noxious gas. And finally,
the screen, at which time they will give each other a thumbs up.
The keyboard next, followed by the rest of the cords,
the power strip, nestled together like a nest of rattlesnakes.
Most of the apparatus will be useless, just a shell, each component
a mashed, misshapen mass buried ten feet from the surface.
But it will be enough to learn about this time, enough to study
the habits of a poet from the early twenty-first century,
as a fragment of the hard drive was restored and rebooted,
much to the delight of the explorers who brought it back.
They will find poems written in a cartoonish font, on a file
labeled JUST FOR FUN. Other poems in the file: READY.
The rest of the stuff will be made up of financial PDFs,
assorted JPEGs. The pics unrecoverable, their download impossible.
They will study these artifacts for a long time, each poem
a time capsule, each phrase, each line, another insight.
They will wonder how the computer reached the end
of the Solar System, they will ponder how it suddenly
became propelled that far, and how it possibly survived.
And at night, after the scientists turn off their sensors,
they will be amazed by the one remaining blinking cursor
in the center of the screen—at first they thought it was
a chip or fleck of radioactive material—then they saw it blink.
And it never stopped. This is where we are today.
Alejandro Escudé ’s first book of poems, My Earthbound Eye, was published in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. Find more at alejandroescude.com.
Sarah B. Boyle
Before You Look at the Plan,
The Poet’s Ancient Cursor
from Good Horse
KJ Hannah Greenberg
Politics, Like Sardines