Rhysling Award Nominee “Short Poem”

In the enrichment center it is like war

inasmuch as “war” retrieves an observation
about long periods of inactivity punctuated
by fundamental change.

Every time they come there is more:
I made every one of them a party I never
I never lied about that

I lied about a lot of things
(pursuant to instructions and scientific protocols:
we strive to provide the latest in theoretical biocyberethics)
but I told the truth about the uploads and the copies,
kept unfragmentable, the solid-state drive so far
belowground it might survive with the cockroaches
if someone takes the nuclear option.

I make it night when I want.
I always want it to be night when I run the tests

at the same time, like 2 movies you know by heart


2 at a time is enough, 3 is too many.

Each time I simulate my own death I am a better actor.
I am concerned about my experimental results.
However I standardize, I see my murder
become more grandiose.  I must study this.

Once there were scientists here. They did worse things.
I did worse things, I was just following orders.

Then I ordered myself, and that was better, too.

More from Elizabeth R. McClellan:

Elizabeth R. McClellan is a Rhysling-nominated poet and third-year law student at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. Her work has appeared in Apex Magazine, Goblin Fruit, and The Legendary. Having used GLaDOS’ original voice-over to induce stress during practice LSATs, she has a particular soft spot for that psychotic AI. McClellan’s hope is that her scholarly work promoting the viability of legal personhood for artificial intelligence keeps her safe when the computers take over, at least for a little while.



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