Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


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.

Credit


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

Author


Cathy Park Hong

Born to Korean parents on August 7, 1976, Cathy Park Hong was raised in Los Angeles

Date Published: 2012-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/engines-within-throne