Come closer, don’t be shy, and here she is – what
do you think? I know it’s strange, her floating
there in all that liquid, hair fanning and swirling,
but it keeps her fresh and ready. We grew her
from a client who didn’t approve of the final
dimensions so we made another one, more to
expectations, and kept this one as a spare. So she’s
available at a bargain price, and immediately too
which is good for you because, if you don’t
mind me saying, I could hear you creaking
as they wheeled you in, I can see the creasing
of your skin, it’s clear you’ll need to transfer
soon, and here she is! We can alter the face
for a little extra, and of course you can choose
whatever color hair you fancy. We could place
you in by next week – what do you think?
What’s that? Can she see you? Well, maybe her
eyes register a presence outside the tank,
but she won’t understand – she’s just a body,
just flesh, waiting for memories, needing somebody
to make her a home. Ah look, she’s moving her hand!
No, like I just said, she can’t see you, but it’s almost
as if she’s reaching out, isn’t it? How sweet, it looks
as if she likes you. I think she’ll suit you perfectly.
I’ll give you some time to think about it, and then
we can get down to paperwork. Are you okay here
by the tank? I’ll wheel you closer – there. We keep
the lights low, partially to save energy of course,
but I think it’s quite restful too. Stay here and I’ll go
for a while, give you two a chance to bond. Look,
there goes that hand again! Okay, I’m off,
you can watch her float and shift
in that gray green soup, suspended
and waiting, those delicate fingers uncurling
then curling, back into a fist.
Sarah Shirley lives in Hamilton, New Zealand with her husband and two young children. She previously worked as a molecular biologist and is now in her final year of medical school. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Star*Line, takahe Magazine, Poetry New Zealand, Atlas, and Ars Medica.