On a soft surface, blurry rays penetrating,
Or in a tiny conveyance pushed through moving air,
Or seated, enclosed, with fabric draped on her front,
Nourishment being placed into her mouth,
She worked to assimilate the details of her assignment,
Fascinated at her awkwardness in her new vessel,
Its appendages errand and awkward.
The soothing sweetness and rounding tang
Of what she would one day call strained peach
Ran down her chin,
Going gooey in the extensions
Of the ends of the two upper limbs
She so often brought to the stickiness when she fed.

For this assignment, she had come untrained
In her new machinery, forced to assimilate
All of the environment on this site
With no manual from home
And no apparent manner of sending request for
Or of receiving instruction.

But then, in moments, when her caretakers
Absented themselves for other tasks
A presence remained, humming lowly,
Imbuing all shapes and hues with something more
Than what she would see until the ring’s ends
Would one day meet.

She soon learned to make
The sounds of her custodians
And control the objects in her realm
To read symbols on a page
And adopt the investigations and superstitions
Of the others assigned to this scape.

And when her voyage came to an end,
And she lay again, dependent on new caretakers,
The presence again settled,
As her eyes grew dark, and her breath drew flat.
With the ecstasy of timeless sentience,
She received her order to return.

Photo credit: Sam Rana of Pexels

I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers March 2023 Slice of Life Challenge.

4 thoughts on “Presence

  1. Wow! This is a hard, beautiful poem to read. I can’t fathom envisioning the time when a baby will need new caretakers as an elder…but of course, that’s the point: life”s “ring.” You make it pragmatic with all the mechanical language “For this assignment, she had to come untrained/in her new machinery…” That distance reinforces the message. I’ll be thinking about this for a while.

    1. Thank you for such a perceptive reading and insightful remark! I often lack the confidence that my meaning will come across. I truly appreciate your comment.

  2. I have read this a few times and keep coming to the final line with a final sigh. It is beautiful, from start to finish.

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