The 2River View 25.4 (Summer 2021)

Diane Thiel


Trying to write something about
Borges and his dystopian purifiers,
but living a few different realities at once,
I keep thinking about the Borg.

After the screen, their image persists,
the implants, maturation chambers,
the hive so alien and familiar.
The perfection.

I wanted the poem to be funny, wry at least,
carry its own kind of meta-resistance,
but as I find myself saying out loud in the house,
There is nothing funny about the Borg.

My twelve-year-old, as usual, pulls me out
of that futile spiral, pointing out, Well, it’s funny
that they always say the same thing.
They do—despite all that math, all those letters,

consuming all those libraries of information,
 all those possible ways of solving problems.
It is funny, but also terrifying
to always hear the same thing.

Field Notes from the Biolayer

It seems to require extreme conditions.
Some do listen to the early alarms, but many will ignore
all evidence until the water rises above their heads.

As the virus sweeps, and they are forced
to rely on the virtual world, some begin to realize
what they had been missing, how much they miss touch,

the sound of voices and music not filtered through machines.
We have always found the music to be curious,
the way they use it to connect,

the way some sing to get through things.
Though I have seen enough not to be naive,
the possibilities are staggering.

More are recognizing the way their world is connected
within and also beyond—the rivers, the oceans, the air—
the lovely layer that makes their existence possible.

Diane Thiel has published ten books of poetry and nonfiction. Questions from Outer Space is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. Thiel is a Professor at the University of New Mexico, and her awards include PEN, NEA and Fulbright Awards. website

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