“Science Fiction” by Lesley Wheeler

Lesley Wheeler


No jack at the nape of the neck, no Mars colony,
no teleportation, no flying car jaunts
with your friend the cyborg. However, you may
own a cell phone so tiny you can’t see
it without cochlear implants, requiring you
to hire an immigrant child with delicate fingers
to press its microscopic buttons.

Don’t listen to me, a poet, specialist
in memory not speculation. This future tense
thing is just a game. Ridiculous to guess
you will still read poems in the bathtub
and the steam will make you feel sexy.
Green hair today, you’ll decide, dictating
commands to a sleek plastic coiffurator,
thinking of moss sparkling deep in the book’s
virtual glade. Water will stream
off your skin as you emerge, laying down
the words that transport you. Humidity
makes tech buggy but moss likes moisture, just keeps
softening, thickening, so real and verdant
now, so clean-smelling, language falls away.

from Rattle #38, Winter 2012
Tribute to Speculative Poetry


Lesley Wheeler: “I’m addicted to the Book as Transporter Device—novels can certainly pull you into an alternate reality, but some poems can, too. ‘Science Fiction’ is about that experience of reading as absorption and transformation.” (web)

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