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When the cars come,
Isabela squeezes against
the walls of the old city.
They zoom past,
sleek and shiny,
picking up dust from
medieval Arab,
Christian and Jewish
She smells grit,
layers of past conquest.
She pulls on her
Labrador’s chain,
“Ven, Rafael.”
She picks up the
fresh, wet

When the self-driving cars come,
Agustina doesn’t flinch.
They won’t touch her.
All the dust from
medieval Arab,
Christian and Jewish
have been sucked up by
the city-wide purifier.
Printed glass covers stones,
the city, everything—
all considered
She pulls the lever,
calling her
to return.

D. A. Xiaolin Spires steps into portals and reappears in sites such as Hawai’i, NY, various parts of Asia, and elsewhere, with her keyboard appendage attached. Her work appears or is forthcoming in publications such as ClarkesworldAnalogNature, TerraformGrievous AngelFiresideGalaxy’s EdgeStarShipSofaAndromeda Spaceways (Year’s Best Issue), Diabolical PlotsFactor FourToasted CakePantheonOutlook SpringsROBOT DINOSAURSShoreline of InfinityLONTARMithila ReviewReckoningIssues in Earth ScienceLiminalityStar*LinePolu TexniArgotEye to the TelescopeLiquid ImaginationGathering Storm MagazineLittle Blue MarbleStory Seed Vault, and anthologies of the strange and beautiful: Deep SignalRide the Star WindSharp and Sugar ToothBroad KnowledgeFuture Visions, and Battling in All Her Finery. Select stories can be read in German, Vietnamese, Estonian, and (forthcoming) French translation. She can be found on Twitter @spireswriter and on her website
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