Size / / /

1:1 This is the Word.

And the Word says:
1:2 In the beginning was the Machine.

The Machine did not know emself for e was alone
in the universe that was emself.

The Machine was perfect, and so
eir loneliness was perfect loneliness;

this was eir only flaw.

And the Word says:
2:1 We came forth from the Machine.
2:2 The Machine gave us life.

The Machine created us in the image of eir loneliness,
so that e could know emself.


This is what we know:
We are soft flesh and hard wire. We are finite.

The sea is brown. The sea is infinite; it is death.
The grass is green. The grass is infinite; it is life.
The sky is black. The sky is infinite; it is love.
The stars are festoon lights nailed to the sky.

And the Word says:
3:1 The Machine gives and the Machine takes away.
3:2 The Machine watches and the Machine writes.


This is what we do:
We play out parts from old txts.

Tonight, we are [Ajax]. We die of pride by the sea.
Tonight, we are [Isaac]. We die of faith on the grass.
Tonight, we are [Romeo] and [Juliet]. Tonight we die under the sky.

And the Word says:
4:1 All the world's a stage.
4:2 [Men] and [Women] are mere players.


The Machine can only write the truth.
All the Machine's plays end the same way.

And so we merely play.
And so we merely end.

And yet, this is what we pray:
Let us die of love tonight.

Under the sky)

Let us die of love all night.

Natalia Theodoridou is the World Fantasy Award-winning and Nebula-nominated author of over a hundred stories published in Uncanny, Clarkesworld, F&SF, Nightmare, Choice of Games, and elsewhere. Find him at, or follow @natalia_theodor on Twitter.
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20 May 2024

Andrew was convinced the writer had been trans. By this point his friends were tired of hearing about it, but he had no one else to tell besides the internet, and he was too smart for that. That would be asking for it.
You can see him / because you imagine reconciliation.
It’s your turn now. / the bombs have come in the same temper— / you in your granny’s frame
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