Winner of the 2021 Auburn Witness Poetry Prize judged by Jericho Brown
Yesterday my name was power
adapter, toaster jockey, tag spinner.
Today it’s anger and liquid mercury, evading reach.
Tomorrow I’ll be breaking the rules by showing up,
elbows on the table, scared to my sneakers of getting fired--
being the girl who leans forward into everyone’s face
instead of ornamental. If you show me your newest
phone, I might brain you with mine;
dig out your skull and put a chip in, instead.
All a gadget wants is to be turned on and stroked,
lips against its glass surface, it reflects someone else’s face.
A gadget is not a woman.
No one will notice that it isn’t you in there.
Just like no one noticed that my name isn’t that girl
And I didn’t come here from marketing, I flew in
full frontal from engineering.
• • •
TO READ MORE POETRY, PICK UP A COPY OF VOL 54.3
ELIZABETH AOKI is a poet, fiction writer, and game producer. Her first poetry collection, Breakpoint, was a 2019 National Poetry Series Finalist and went on to receive the Patricia Bibby First Book Award from Tebot Bach. Aoki has received fellowships from the City of Seattle, Artist Trust Foundation, Jackstraw Writers Program, Clarion West Writers Workshop, and Hedgebrook. You can find her tweeting @baoki or contact her via her website at betsyaoki.com. Her prior publications include Calyx, Hunger Mountain, Nassau Review (winner of the 2015 Writer Award), the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, Phoebe, Poetry Northwest, the Seattle Times, Seattle Review, and terrain.org (Letters to America).