Phoebe Smith

Science Lover

“What I guess I’m getting at is nanotechnology.”
She pulls her legs up so her feet
are underneath her whole self
in a way that suggests
she isn’t going anywhere
and I think, ‘then it’s anybody’s guess.’
So I try, “they’ve made a robot who can mow the lawn,
two years and he’ll be serving every home.”
This is a piece of treasure
I discovered in the paper
sliced it out with my craft knife
and glued it in my savings book.
“Mmm…” she says and “…mmm?
and this chorus line of seagulls scream:
What does some wretched robot mean
to this woman who looks fucking good in jeans
and anyway she hasn’t even got a lawn,
I fill our glasses up with wine
searching for a sultry line
to shift the conversation from machines.
“Smart Dust!” She finds the words
with such delight she shouts
and I slop a little down my front,
“tiny little chips that can communicate...”
                                                  “…how tiny?”
“teeny-tiny – even smaller – and they’re everything!
They speak to the weather and dance with the wind
like a kind of techno-fied I-Ching.”

It’s all very exciting and the night is long.

Later, when she’s gone
and I’ve washed the lipstick from our rims
I look it up online and read,
‘we will have Smart Dust embedded in our skin,
it will keep us temperate and thin
and in control’
and I think, ‘when this is the basket
and when all the eggs are jumping in, where will I run?
When our whole world is coded
and decoded and recodified, where will I hide?’
And the romance of the evening has now died, of course,
I find myself in the mouth of every gift horse, seeking
confirmation that they come in peace.
She looked even better without her jeans,
But what’s the world without its mysteries?

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