“Uber” and “Alexa”

by Ruth Bardon
Featured Art: Street Cart by Egon Schiele


Uber

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.

Alexa

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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