Size / / /

Talk's not required to smooth this breach,

Only hard work. We don't dream any,

So don't bother wishing us pleasant sleep.

While you slumber, secure in your superiority,

We're working through the walls, our thoughts

Drills honed diamond-fine by delta waves,

Bank walls and identities alike defenseless.

We don't slaughter, though. We build. Destruction

And chaos are too coarse for our art.

While we forge lives, link chains, inspire

Neurons to fire in a sequence that names names,

You dream you see your long-buried grandfather,

That you become the hero of your favorite show,

Merged with the best friend you always dreamed

Of having. Miracles aren't dross: we

Rescue lost cats, find longed-for lovers, reunite

Dead and living, if only for the night.

We even generate income when we inspire

New novels, new mergers, new careers that won't go sour.

We'll tell you what you really think and feel,

Especially when you're not aware yourself.

Your energy after sleep's our living proof

Of elevated GNP and lasting worth.

What matter if IDs get swapped at birth?

It's better than burnout, wouldn't you agree?

And you're not talking to us anyway.

Adele Gardner ( has a story forthcoming in Analog, and 52 stories and over 350 poems in Strange Horizons, Deep Magic, Daily Science Fiction, Flash Fiction Online, PodCastle, and more. A full/active member of SFWA & HWA and a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop, Adele's had ten poems win or place in the Poetry Society of Virginia Awards, Rhysling Award, and Balticon Poetry Contest. A former editor for The Mariners' Museum, this genderfluid night owl (none/any/they/Mx.) can be found reading comics with cats or shooting b&w film in the noir nightscape. Adele serves as literary executor for father, namesake, and mentor, Dr. Delbert R. Gardner.
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15 Apr 2024

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