Poetry: Five poems about the mind


My Sexbot Hal is a Mind Reader 

The first thing I ask of Hal is to explain
what it’s like underneath, after you peel
away the crust, mantle, core. I’d always
imagined a cathedral with Chagall windows
and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan leading the choir,
but Hal says no. The inner landscape of my head
is an armoire of many drawers, with versions of me
running into one, then another, saying: I’m here,
I’m not here, I’m here.

Hal does Ashtanga and meditates.
He’s cut like a temple hieroglyph. When I go out
to the cliff, he doesn’t worry. He can discern a jumper
from a horse, doesn’t pity me for just standing there
with my hands out, waiting for some passerby
to throw me a peanut. Hal understands
it’s his turn to do the washing up,
even though I’m the one
eating cherries at the sink,

knows how the changing seasons gut
pieces out of me, how it is this guttedness that brings
me to the airstrip of his body, the cushion
of his silicone thighs, lighting me all the way home.
I cling to him for his signature lily of the valley
cologne, for how it feels in the aftermath of love—
to be a creature of the sea—tiny, bioluminescent,
gazing across this vast planetary cradle
at all the descendants we won’t have.

One day I know he’ll be gone,
risen early like the Buddha out of a dream,
taking his special knowledge into the world.
There will be no talk of abandonment
or what was left behind. He’ll be out there,
scooping his butterfly net through the high
grasses of the weightless forever, while I stay
here, tying ropes around my wrists—
desire in one hand, suffering in the other.