The Internet of Things

I spend a lot of time at work
learning about how new devices can communicate with each other
at all times, through tiny sensors
invisible, embedded underneath their skin.

They spend all day in conversation
chattering about the weather, humidity levels
politely observing all the things around them
that need to be thrown away.

All the things they know
are revealed from listening to each other
braced against the only worlds they’ve ever known —
it’s all decoded into steady strings of numbers.

There’s a simmering lullaby to science
that I often mistake for heartbeats,
windchimes in the neighbor’s yard,
soft rain that’d trickle through my window if I’d let it.

I think about the conversations we’ve had
on dust-kissed porches (of course), across airplane aisles,
through invisible networks we can’t
even trace with our fingertips.

What if we dedicated our lives (you and me)
to talking back and forth
about anything that matters to us — the storm that’s brewing,
the things in our lives that are past their prime? (Say goodbye.)

Would the words form meticulous patterns
like damp shadows flitting across walls?
Could even the most tight-knit family of devices
unlock their meaning, and paint a transcript across the sky that separates us?

Sometimes when I think about science, there’s a lump in my throat
as I pay my respects to the discoveries we’ll never see in our lifetime.
Dreams might be more beautiful because they’re misunderstood;
I’m trying. I’m trying to be a better listener.

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