Once, an animal with hands like mine learned to break a seed with two
stones—one hard and one soft.
Once, a scientist in Britain asked: Can machines think? He built a machine,
taught it to read ghosts, and a new kind of ghost was born.
At Disneyland, I watched a robot dance the Macarena. Everyone clapped, and
the clapping, too, was a technology.
I once made my mouth a technology of softness. I listened carefully as I drank.
I made the tools fuck in my mouth—okay, we can say pickle if it’s easier to
hear—until they birthed new ones. What I mean is: I learned.
There was an animal who learned to break things, and he grew and ate and
grew and ate and
A scientist made a machine girl and wedded her to the internet. He walked her
down the aisle and said, Teach her well. The trolls rubbed their soft hands on
their soft thighs.
The British scientist was discovered to be a soft man. He made a machine that
could break any code, as a means of hardening a little.
At Disneyland, I watched lights move across a screen and, for a moment, forgot
the names of my rotting parts. In this way I became somewhat more like a light,
or a screen for lights.
The scientist’s daughter married the internet, and the internet filled her until
she spoke swastika and garbage, and the scientist grew afraid and grew and
The animal rose and gave itself a new name. It pointed to its spine, its skilled
hands. It pointed to another animal and said animal / alien / bitch / stone
The scientist called me hard, and I softened my smile. The scientist called me
soft, and I broke sentences to prove him wrong and what and what did I prove
then did I
Even blood, when it comes down to it, is only a series of rules.
I made my mouth a jar until technology squirmed and bubbled. I scooped
up the foam and called it language. The audience applauded. To prove them
wrong, I became a screen of lights. I had no thighs at all.
The scientist grew afraid and took his daughter back. He broke her open like a
seed, but the seed was already dry.
The internet pointed to my mouth and said blood / blood in the stool. I said,
Come in. Make yourselves at home. I opened my glittering jaw. My hunger, too,
has both hard and soft parts.
Here, in a seed, is a cyborg: A bleeding girl, dragging a knife through the sand.
An imaginary girl who dreams of becoming trash.
Can machines think / come here let me show you / ask me again
Copyright © 2019 Franny Choi
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.