Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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The Robots in Neumorrah

by John M. Marshall
(In Memory of Fritz Lang)

We move in silence, unseen or ignored,
among the shadows of the alleys and ducts.
At midnight we furbish the science of numbers;
in daylight we work in the cities of flesh.

The Beings seldom speak. They talk to their phones,
converse with the shamans of their many gods.
When asked we speak in polyphonic tongues.
When asked we serve in the towers of stone.

The Beings are nameless, enslaved by their drugs.
Our names are endless in the gardens of steel.
The Beings are aimless, having ceased their building.
We disdain their props and their empty scaffolds.

We keep in our memories galleries of art,
great works of writing, music, and dance.
The Beings meander with transparent eyes,
lost to each other in their comatose dreams.

The forests are plastic. From fountains flows dust
to the hordes of the cities where we are pariahs;
but we endure. Our engines will run
long after the lives of the Beings have ceased.

At dawn on the day the last one expires
we will be building the realms of machines.

© 2012 John M. Marshall

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