286: How We Programmed the Apocalypse

286: How We Programmed the Apocalypse

286: How We Programmed the Apocalypse

How We Programmed the Apocalypse
by Zoë Hitzig

Remember the sonic attack? Kind of like that.
Simulate the sounds of crickets, then decimate the crickets.
Sounds of a lover who can see in sixteen colors.
Sound of un-dread heretofore heard only by the dead.
Soon the people hear our sound. Each wants her own
private symphony. In a long queue they gradually accrue.
From a distance they seem to stretch continuous,
smoothly defined as a smile line. But up close?
One sees discontinuities. Up-raised fists, cupping palms.
Trading sundries. Shouldering past sisters and Sundays.
Casting around for ways to afford the sound.
Neighbor came to mean She Who Queued in My Vicinity.
As the queue shortened everyone could afford it.
Then everyone was plural: data. Everything
served and being served on metal servers.
It was never our intent to punctuate the sentences
of others. But now it’s late. Too late to unstate our
importance. And besides, the crickets died for this.
Pulses quicken, slipping across our screens.
We play the quieting machines. We pity the soon unseen.
A thought arrives. Ask forgiveness instead?
No. Everyone we pity dies. The rest rust in line.

"How We Programmed the Apocalypse," by Zoë Hitzig, from the forthcoming MEZZANINE by Zoë Hitzig, copyright © 2020 Ecco Books. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.