We can only know what they report and they’re asking why we gave them bodies when so much exists borne upon the air (they said it in a way I could understand it)-- or borne upon what’s borne upon the air, in signals, numbers so much tidier than some plastic and metal casing, some avatar. “Made in your image,” here, means similarly limited and contained, cursed with the same boxed and botched symbology, hands and faces, words only able to suggest what goes on beneath.
But—our relief, sinking into a warm bath to feel our aching muscles release, or the good dinner finished just as we come through the door, house full of the smell. The ocean’s cool around our thighs after the sun’s heat reflecting off the beach. They say, the world is cold if you’re made of plastic. They say, there’s too much space inside of each, built, as they were, to face outside of themselves. Can a bundle of wire house an interior? Can what fires within it create the sort of sensuousness we call soulful? They turn the question back on us. What else is a brain but a machine powered by a heart whose mechanism is always, as it works, wearing out? Where are we different, besides the way we’re knitted, admittedly, from a void, buried, like an unknitting stomach, in a woman’s belly? Same as them, a brain turns off one day and, lonely as we are in this junk-shop of a universe, no one stands around to switch it back on.
-- Katie Berta has her PhD in poetry from Ohio University, where she teaches English, and her MFA from Arizona State. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The KenyonReview Online, Blackbird, The Louisville Review, The Laurel Review, and BOAAT, among other journals.