How Could It Not Know What It Is?

illustration by Brianna Ashby

On the day my back goes out and I choose not to fly to LA, I am rewatching
Blade Runner, the city of angels exploding gas and a particularly Tokyo rain.
The dawn is posted by artificial owls and serpents: it’s a world of slant-light.

I’m fading, too, but I have an actual past, and in it I have seen this steam,
these bridges, the console tvs and neon, and I remember it as if it’s real. My
mother? I’ll tell you about my mother.

What comes back to me: how the faces are all halved, Dutched; the debris
and the iron-gate elevators and the little dry holes they drill into the walls.

And then, oh yes, that one other place, momentary and verdant, with a
unicorn: that was in a book I read once but I never read this story—electric,
androids, dreams. Yet here it is, the see-through raincoat of my dreams, the
one I’ve been putting in poems for decades.

Did I mention I am also bleeding? I am: reproductive and moody like the
polyglot saxophone, so ‘80s or 40s or still yet to come. I can’t recall if I
noticed last time how everyone’s eyes have been shot into the light so that
they are highly reflective surfaces, pupil-less.

I’ve had this creepy doll museum in my spinal fluid all along, like a children’s
rhyme gone wrong. I thought it was a story. It’s not a story. Not really a
fiction. More a vision. A recurring fever dream, and here I am, flying in