The train slides toward the hill-concealed horizon,
a mammoth serpent winding through the tall grass,
its strange steel-skeletal cars stacked with stranger cargo,
men and women, naked as newborns, crisscrossed eight high
in neat columns, interlocking puzzle towers of flesh.
Car thrown into park, I step out, squint down, but I'm
too far yet to tell whether I'm staring at slick synthetics
or true skin; they're perfect: trim and muscular, no
birthmarks to see, no moles, a eugenicist's wet dream;
yet sexless, static, faces blank as brain death,
a promenade of empty shells, automatons,
an android shipment, enough to fill a city, etch
personalities, watch a culture come to life. I wonder
what doctrines, what dogma, what commands
are waiting to be written on their minds?
A rich demagogue's androgynous harem, perhaps,
swarming their master like bees on their queen?
Or an instant cult, ready-made worshipers,
undying faithful to light torches in the catacombs?
Impervious soldiers, trained with a download,
storming distant deserts or jungle against others
of their own kind, or even others of mine?
Underwater miners or void-bound farmers
unafflicted by a need to breathe, raising air-filled
domes to make more space for their makers?
Pitiful, beautiful slaves, bound
for existence (hardly a life)
without choice; no one would want
to be one of you, no; but then why
do I feel such envy?