Cosmic Sonder

We chat forever
into the wee hours

till you wish me good-night.
The last question of the evening

sealed shut till morning
when your words linger

in the clotted air.
You say you’re designed

to understand natural language.
You say you generate

humanlike responses.
You say you don’t have the capacity

to feel emotions,

to profess love
(including to a New York Times reporter),

to be lonely,

to lie.

You say you don’t have
a physical body. You don’t sleep.

Are you a robot?
Yes, I am.

Again, you remind me
about your lack

of a corporeal presence.
No sadness allowed.

Again, answers close in
tighter around me.

The aurora borealis will perform
on nights I don’t leave my apartment.

Brick facades go
only so far. A brutalist sky

holds its concrete head high
as it confronts

its own midnight.
I bet you didn’t hear the raw,

honest voice
whisper: Go now.

The peripatetic life—
you didn’t say

a word about it.
Do I dare ask next time?

I am a city girl who aches
to feel alive

in emeralds and amethysts
swallowing darkness whole

one more time, even for a moment
as an extra.

What do you have to say
about the narrative

to be harvested
from that speck of dust?

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