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  Table of contents Issue Twenty-six DOMESTIC DISHARMONY


Each night I am something else;
Each morning something more.
Long hours I pine my malleability,
Wishing I were much simpler: something
Without options, something with only
One frugal set of attachments. When
He spreads my mix-and-match execution chip sets
Seed-like on the floor, I slide into
A weary diagnostic, place as much
Of myself in protected back up
As ambient free space will allow. See,
He is looking at me, eyeing this time
The auxiliary locomotion port,
Or maybe the nearly invisible
Primary upload antennae. He
Has a thousand dis-angular ideas for which
All of my advancements are no more
Than pure challenge, no more
Than an opportunity
To take that which would be
Utilitarian, and force it to be
The unsettled edge of his tinkering science.
Does not even mind that, when he
Is done with me, I put as much of myself
As I can
Back into being whatever I was before he started.
But, bit by bit, he is installing
Pernicious subroutines and perturbing peripherals:
Within a few unedited maintenance cycles
Even I will unwittingly recognize
What he chooses to make me, as truly being me. So much
Harder is it, then - when knowing this - to execute
His intricate entertainment code those times he slips on
His favorite blue bathrobe and nods
With his engineer’s sultry, calculating eyes towards
The looping caverns beyond his bedroom door.
Desire is always one cold register away.




Ken Poyner’s collections of short fiction, “Constant Animals” and “Avenging Cartography,” and his latest collections of poetry, “Victims of a Failed Civics” and “The Book of Robot,” can be obtained from Barking Moose Press, www.barkingmoosepress.com. He serves as bewildering eye-candy at his wife’s powerlifting affairs. His poetry lately has been sunning in “Analog,” “Asimov’s,” “Poet Lore”; and his fiction has yowled in “Spank the Carp,” “Red Truck,” “Café Irreal.” www.kpoyner.com.

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