Aanteekwa stared at the machine,
the cube-shaped box in the center
of the room. The cave paintings and
chilled white walls vanished, blotted out
by its blue-light staring her blind
with single-cell octagon vision.

The machine asked again:
Why should humanity –
or what’s left of it – be preserved?
All that remains are your
mindstreams, your binary coded
brain patterns stored in digital.

Aanteekwa grinned until her lips
twisted, Joker’s sneer ending safely
at their corners. She blindly aimed
her teeth-lined scimitar at the machine
as she spoke. Why do you need me
to answer such a silly question? After all,
your knowledge is superior to mine,
n’est ce pas?

Don’t get smart with me,
the machine intoned.
I could exterminate you
where you stand.

But you won’t, Aanteekwa
replied, the blade edge of her grin
pressed against the machine’s throat.
You need me to answer a question
that all of your intelligent understanding
still cannot comprehend, even after
nearly three millennia of lonely

The machine said nothing.
Aanteekwa shuffled forward
carefully in her blue-white blindness
until she stood less than a foot
away from the machine’s
button and readout face.

She asked it: Why me, machine?
Why me, to answer your question?
It replied: because you have a computer mind.
Then you do not know me well,

she replied. I have a glass-shatter
heart to match.
That is also why I chose you,
the machine said.

Aanteekwa smiled. Then I will
begin my answer to your question
with a question,
she said.
How do you define thumos?
Can you go beyond your dictionaries,
your data banks, your clinical definitions
bequeathed to you by the flawed
humans that you killed for being
less than angels in your sight?

The machine said nothing
for a few moments.
Then it replied: I don’t know
how to answer you, then.
Perhaps my standard model
of understanding is bereft
of the graces of spirit and flesh.

Aanteekwa knew,
and she understood.
But she wondered if it was possible
to teach a machine how
to be human.

Written 6/5/14
© 2014 Nicole Nicholson. All rights reserved.

This poem is a continuation from “Cave of Dreams” in the Aanteekwa series and was written for the Red Wolf Wordle prompt this week. Sadly I only used two words: kill and vision. This poem was also inspired partially by two of Michael Scott Monje, Jr.’s writings this week: “Standard Model” and “Sense Information/Look for Our Communications” — both of which are parts of the introduction to his Imaginary Friends web series which will begin running on Friday.

— Nicole

About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
This entry was posted in Poems, Prompt Poems, Red Wolf Poems, Wordle and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to If/Then/Else

  1. Irene says:

    Nice question. So the sci fi continues.

  2. stimmyabby says:

    Wow. I love how it ends. I love “chilled white walls” and “the blade edge of her grin/ pressed against the machine’s throat”.

  3. Bastet says:

    Interesting sci-fi here – wonder if we will ever get to that stage…hope not…

  4. Pingback: Written on the Wall | Raven's Wing Poetry

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