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Poet Wrestling With the Possibility She’s Living in a Simulation

All my timelines lead to this poem.

Proof: what brought us here is all

the same horse. So I have some questions.

Which of us are the shallow wood.

What if blood is emptiness. I suspect

my own veins are rogue simulations

flitting with a new kind of heightened self-

awareness. Proof: the nurse says they are flighty

& hard to find. Drink more water, she sings,

pushing her own tin. What if what’s within

is simulated to keep every artery compliant.

You know.

That whole thing being

as being undead

dead creeks.

It’s also sad to think

the envy still filling us over some horse

we knew for less than a week

is simulated. Don’t you feel better at least? Well,

do I have news {for you}: I suspect the horse is

also false, bogus, feigned. Proof: he comes running

when we do not call for him. Proof: in one timeline,

he & I are doing a lot of simulated things.

Get your mind out of the gutter.

On holidays we openly bathe

in a {manmade}

heated spring

—or rather: he fears the water & balances

on edge. Half the time he slips. Falls in & blips. Holds me

responsible. Resets. Drink more water, tweets the anti-horse

threatening to annihilate another anti-


come salt

winter, come stone

age. So place your bets

that advanced civilizations don’t always

not annihilate themselves. Woah.

Let’s try this again.



Maybe our most real timeline resides in another verb tense.

Or is hiding in new irregular superlatives. Should we ask for



whoest. Because why be skinned when you can be

skunned. Would you do the honors. My deliberateness says to trust you.

One simulation to another, am I wrong. Didn’t we see we through

fire, windmill, heated floors. Were we not a woman waving

a white handkerchief. One if by land. Skull

& bones. Ticks in the trees & mysterious


nil & :: please.


If nothing else,

can we not all agree

hummingbirds win Most

Fabulous Simulations.

Even if they are the secret guards,

& their tears

the anti-virus software

injecting all those broken

1s & 0s into our hearts.

& surely in one timeline they are the gods themselves ::

the superlative whoest

of engineers

who’ve made mincemeat

of asteroids & atomic


It’s too bad that all our timelines are inherently self-destructive.

Proof: we watch the same video of a hummingbird snoring for hours,

still sitting in the nurse’s chair & not a step closer to what life,

outside of human reach, desires. I’m okay with that.

The horse is calling.

& I’m running

my hands through his mane,

unable to explain.

Where & when this comfort,

this crisis,

took root.

How did we meet, was it two if by sea.

I can’t remember when we did not cheat

life with a horse

:: when all timelines were

a real

& :: even field

in which the humming

-bird drank our blood

straight from the creek.

from If This Is the Age We End DiscoveryFind more by Rosebud Ben-Oni at the library

Copyright © 2021 Rosebud Ben-Oni
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Poems Rosebud Ben-Oni

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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