Each morning now you test the apparatus.
Waking to its pounding core
you seek remote appendages,
test for the function of digits lost in the night,
the forgotten texture of flesh.
The television tells you
people will let you down, machines won’t.
On a white-lit afternoon
blinking back the little oil-spills,
you cover your eyes and ears
and are cocooned in the industrious
whir and hammer of an agent
as it reads your mind.
Voices come to you through speakers
as if from a distant blue planet
to a churning vessel
mapping shrouded constellations.
Its artworks are luminous, irrefutable;
the machine is broken.
In the lift a woman peers at you
against reflecting mercury, as if
discerning the features of condemned cargo
hazardous appliance, do not touch
Mirrored back its outlines are slipping, precarious
a specimen studied through cracking glass.
With grinding spokes and chains
you find the shoreline and immerse
let salt seep into its crevices, and wait
for a culmination, an interruption,
deus ex machina. The water crackles on
to its faltering soundtrack
of automated thuds and ticks.
A liner coasts the horizon
all indomitable volume and calibrated steel
it diminishes quietly toward a certain future.
1 August 2016