Kodi Saylor: Three Poems from The Future

Subject: Requirements for Emulation

To: Octopus Girls
From: Bureau of Economics
Date: 6/2/16, 10/25/16
Subject: Requirements for Emulation

We, guardians of—it has come to be civilization—yellow xylophone played on moonless nights—music is extraneous; the luxury of sound can no longer be preserved and in the new world we—you are building, dear girls, you are unnecessary—remember to wipe the radio clean—remember to exclude audio and sky under enjoyment—we work to pierce our voices, remove the violets in your laps—we know you know—girls, all night long, work silence into song deeper than sound until your hands are swollen in the midnight oven of our new city—chew away the whistles through windows—the clamor spilling sirens—the water echoes oars on a lake—there are no more lakes.

 

Carole Cranks Out the Index

She inputs it into the octopus

the bell rings

the water pipes rattle

a kettle whistles

transfer hot water

into pot add tea                          nineteen cups she maintains the index

of objects assigned by the committee                   to be translated the index

contains the exact descriptions & locations of                              all entries into the octopus.

She makes tea                                        daily for the girls.

For seven years                          after the bosses entered the octopus

she has been altering the index

put in

broken crockery             dishwashers                   baby blankets—tampons            barbies

endless garbage                          she does not stop with garbage—shit

the bosses need not                                 forget her hands bleed

often each is worn                      a nub and a finger

promises broken                        she will never get new hands

she transfers the skeletons of miners & lumberjacks

whole boats of drowned

fishermen                       plug away objects

images rejected by the object designation committee

playing              she reassesses

abandon things                                                    she refuses to drink her tea

each girl must do her part                       when her hands fail

please don’t do that to me                      please don’t do that to anyone

on the cart the teacups               never rattle       soundless          movement down hallway

 

her nub & arm cup the cups    left in the slots                 patting the wall to say                hello

speech is impossible                  the octopus glows orange

she chooses to tip                                   over the bucket                          she chooses to measure

serial acquisitions          with access       remembering her  mother

how did she arrive here

her handless arms pet the napkin nesting in her lap

the tea kettle whistles

she remembers she never said no

 

Subject: Instructions for Large Terrestrial Mammals

To: Flora & Fauna Data Ingest Specialists
From: Executive Board for the Effective Preservation of Cultural Memory & Values
Date: 2/2/16
Subject: Instructions for Large Terrestrial Mammals

Materials deemed unfit for accession must be ethically discarded. All large mammals including the elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and bears [see Appendix 4G for full list] have been rejected. These animals and their paraphernalia, including reference materials and data, is to be ethically discarded. Please use the jelly machines installed for fossil & paper deposits. Remember our company commitment to preventing skulls from speaking. The Fiber Bureau serves aspirin at noon as part of the “all’s well here” program. Fish & fruit gelatin with kidney stake for lunch today—licorice is not allowed in air filters.

Kodi Saylor received her MFA in poetry at New York University where she was a Lillian Vernon Fellow. Her poems have appeared in Axolotl Magazine and Blue Mesa Review. She currently works at Newman Library at Virginia Tech.

Image: shutterstock.com

What’s HFR up to? Read our current issue, submit, or write for Heavy Feather. Buy our merch.