Engines Within the Throne

We once worked as clerks

        scanning moth-balled pages

into the clouds, all memories

outsourced except the fuzzy

        childhood bits when

I was an undersized girl with a tic,

they numbed me with botox

        I was a skinsuit

of dumb expression, just fingerprints

over my shamed

        all I wanted was snow

to snuff the sun blades to shadow spokes,

muffle the drum of freeways, erase

        the old realism

but this smart snow erases

        nothing, seeps everywhere,

the search engine is inside us,

the world is our display

        and now every industry

has dumped whole cubicles, desktops,

fax machines into developing

        worlds where they stack

them as walls against

what disputed territory

        we asked the old spy who drank

with Russians to gather information

the old-fashioned way,

now we have snow sensors,

        so you can go spelunking

in anyone's mind,

let me borrow your child

thoughts, it's benign surveillance,

        I can burrow inside, find a cave

pool with rock-colored flounder,

and find you, half-transparent

with depression.

From Engine Empire: Poems by Cathy Park Hong. Copyright © 2012 by Cathy Park Hong. Reprinted with permission of W.W. Norton. All rights reserved.