Call them Screeners: a generation existing entirely
in virtual reality. Here is the chip implanted from
the incubator. Here is the birthmark from artifice,
tattooed on a scalp. Pleasure is a monotonous
blur of plastic & machine, whispering down
the tube-fed youth. It’s a seamless frenzy.
All the while fires desecrate Earth.
All the while carnal limbs
litter forests, smog
I-95 wisps into
asphalt and reels on its
axis, murmuring its goodbye.
This is Lake Michigan, shriveled
into Chicago. The crickets are silent.
At the ninth hour, you’ll hear the ersatz keys
lock the rims of this world & its guilty settlers.
The citizens all fall asleep under plastered smiles.
Our eyes infect the pixelated horizon. We are the
voltage birds, singing wistfully into an ashen sky.
Emma Miao is a poet from Vancouver, BC. Her work has been recognized by the Poetry Society of the United Kingdom, Pulitzer Center, and the Poetry Institute of Canada. She is a Commended Foyle Young Poet 2019, a COUNTERCLOCK Arts Collective Fellow, and an alumna of the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio. Her recent poems appear in Cosmonauts Avenue, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and The Emerson Review, among others. Find her at emmamiao.weebly.com.