[Table of Contents]



Joely Fitch


Natural, in advertising, is meaningless. There are many ways in which language is dangerous, and this is one of 97.73 hello hello good morning flatness hello blankness hello birds pink birds good morning dear blankness are you absent dear 97.45 them. Meanings are mutable; meaning-making, often involuntary. M is making a new human 97.05 hello morning are you good turning in the space between aware and 96.80 in her body, so you carry home the board books from the little birdhouse library to mail to them: to M and the human, who is not a whole 97.20 listening you cannot read the difference between the artificial bird sounds and the sounds of living 96.80 human yet but does already exist in time and space. One book is about letters; the other, hunger. M is surprised 96.35 birds dear darkness are you blankness are you dear are you close are you singing are you lilting in the distance silted hello 97.18 you suspected what she'd say before she actually said it—you don't explain it's because you knew the question was closing 97.05 dearness hello flatness hello time where wanting is otherwise and the goddess is staring knowingly back at you from the silver plane of the mirror where the cyborg 97.33 in on her faster every year, and you noticed the prenatal vitamins on her counter spring before-last, didn't mention it. M tells the ones of you who are there that the human—proto-human's how her brother, your husband, puts it, which is right—is the approximate size now of a gummy bear, and you're 96.63 is standing behind you but disappears when you turn around the goddess is made of money bleeds it leaves long golden money hairs tangled in the drain of your shower the 98.04 all so delighted, it's outrageous, it's ordinary and so, so strange. 'Natural' in advertising is meaningless, as in there is no regulation of the use of the word, no standard for what is 97.33 goddess is forever stepping out of razor commercials into your childhood  97.45 or is not natural. This imprecision is profitable. In the car you read the article aloud to the man who is driving the car that is holding both of you. You're thinking something like: goddess, cyborg, we're all fucked anyway. Which is both true and not-true. The carbon footprint is a myth invented by BP. The carbon footprint is a myth invented by BP. The carbon 98.04 living room hey goddess you want to tell her I 'm not necessarily interested please get out of my house 97.73 footprint is a myth, dear blankness, hello carbon. Everyone loves goddesses and naturalness and vitamins. The body is, is not a machine, is not, is. The internet wants so badly to sell you bralettes and handstands and sometimes it works. The internet wants to sell you and sell you and sell you yourself, your own body. BP still bleeds money 97.45 but you don 't get to choose your archetypes dear object are you true are you sweet are you missing I was looking 97.86 into the ocean where even immensity is not immune to toxicity. The difference between a corporation and a person should, you think, be obvious but policing the boundaries of what a person is is tricky business. The article says there is plastic in everyone. The article says the carbon footprint. Carbon is natural. Hello is cultural. Every choice between two options 97.90 for new options like neither or like bird the cyborg says your 97.60 is a lie. The truth, of course, is that the line between what is and is not a personis porous. Like other forms of porousness, this one can be exploited. M works at a Catholic university and is teaching, early-pandemic, in person. Her friend the scientist says she's at higher risk of getting the virus, or 98.34 problem is you were born into a web of myths and sometimes you believe them says 97.60 of getting really sick if she does get it, you can't remember which. Goddess, cyborg, we're all fucked. In wildly varying and always specific ways. "Just tell them you have to protect the gummy bear," you say on the video call, "because if you have to live with that rhetoric for your entire life, you might as well make it work for you this one time you actually can." And everyone laughs because there's nothing 98.17 your problem is you are too attached to archetypes the goddess is murmuring something about being human you want to ask her a question but can't remember what the question is 97.60 else to do. Autonomous, automatic, atomic? The gummy bear is still too small for archetypes. And/or: is the original archetype. Here, like home, there are those billboards. You turn the dial on the radio: no signal: you're 97.58 or was or could be or whether you've already asked her 98.17 hurtling through space in the middle of nowhere. Strange sky, tumbleweeds scattering in flocks across the road ahead. Alone and unalone in your body in the funny moving box that's called a car, sealed off from this ominous weather. And yet of it. How can you deny that these numbers are—this data is—yours? The cyborg asks you 97.33 what it means to want.





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