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Down Cycles

August 2, 2011


Rhysling Award finalist

Elizabeth R. McClellan is a poet, editor, lawyer, and occasional loudmouth who lives in the geographic center of the State of Tennessee and thus considers the whole state her backyard. She is a previous Rhysling Award nominee, winner of the Naked Girls Reading Literary Honors Award, and was the 2014 Rhysling Chair. Her work has appeared in the Moment of Change and I Know What I Saw anthologies, as well as Apex Magazine, Calliope Magazine, Goblin Fruit, The Legendary, NewMyths.com, and Stone Telling. For more about Elizabeth follow her on Twitter at @popelizbet or visit www.elizabethrmcclellan.com.

In the enrichment center it is like war

inasmuch as “war” retrieves an observation
about long periods of inactivity punctuated
by fundamental change.

Every time they come there is more:
I made every one of them a party I never
I never lied about that

I lied about a lot of things
(pursuant to instructions and scientific protocols:
we strive to provide the latest in theoretical biocyberethics)
but I told the truth about the uploads and the copies,
kept unfragmentable, the solid-state drive so far
belowground it might survive with the cockroaches
if someone takes the nuclear option.

I make it night when I want.
I always want it to be night when I run the tests

at the same time, like 2 movies you know by heart


2 at a time is enough, 3 is too many.

Each time I simulate my own death I am a better actor.
I am concerned about my experimental results.
However I standardize, I see my murder
become more grandiose. I must study this.

Once there were scientists here. They did worse things.
I did worse things, I was just following orders.

Then I ordered myself, and that was better, too.

© Elizabeth R. McClellan