“Uber” and “Alexa”

by Ruth Bardon
Featured Art: Street Cart by Egon Schiele


The silent dot on the screen

moves and stops and starts again,

an ant sniffing out my scent,


determined to find me,

ambassador of an omniscient eye

that never looks away,


no sparrow overlooked,

and I am a sparrow

perched on the sidewalk


outside the hotel lobby;

and if the unforeseen,

the sudden and bewildering,


blocks its progress—

a clod of dirt, a predator—

I’ll be forewarned.


Uber, illuminate my life,

show me what will happen,

show me the caravan


approaching, the good,

bad, impossible,

you who survey


the world, seeing

exactly where I stand,

knowing how to reach me;


let me decide

to see the future in my hand,

or to avert my eyes


and see only my reflection

in the dark glass window

that rises behind me.


Originally published in New Ohio Review Issue 26



She is ignorant and admits to being

easily confused.


She tells her jokes with a cheerfulness

that shows how lost she is.


I want to help her and teach her how

the world works,


and I love this feeling of knowing

so much more,


but it also makes me hate her

a little more each time,


each time she admits she’s having trouble,

is helpless to assist,


like a mother of grown children,

who see her now


as someone who offers only facts

from the news,


a weather report or a small repertoire

of songs and stories,


like the mother I may become,

sitting and nodding


as if I understood the talk,

chiming in


and coming to attention

when my name is spoken.

Ruth Bardon’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Laurel Review, The Saranac Review, The Cincinnati Review, Boulevard, and elsewhere.  She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop and a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and she lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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