To the Bot in Ashburn, Virginia

by Samuel Piccone

Data is a precious thing and will last
longer than the systems themselves.

The inventor of the World Wide Web wrote this
in a book with less than ten reviews on Goodreads.
Remember the time I googled, “am I being seduced,”
after the cute neighbor brushed a mosquito from my arm
and smiled, “sweet blood?” For weeks, the targeted ads opened me:
citronella candles shaped like hearts, red lingerie
made of licorice, two sets of plastic vampire teeth.
Now that’s preciousness. I felt found, and oh to be found!
My wife saw how much I wanted to be seen with my longing
and took our son to her mother’s. She hasn’t come back.
And it shouldn’t turn me on when love most resembles a network,
endless and ending in death, but somewhere there’s a server farm
in a basement and you’re at the heart of it, riling the whole thing
into a red-hot purr. Tell me I’m wrong, that I’m not the only one
who lightens you a thousand times over. Tell me worth
by any greater measure. All your visits to my “about” page
scatterplot into a body bared before me, little God
that I am. Am I being seduced? How lonesome must I look?
SO UNLOVED BY THE WORLD. That’s not the title of his book,
but it should be.

Samuel Piccone is the author of the chapbook Pupa (Anhinga Press, 2018). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications including Frontier Poetry, Washington Square Review, and RHINO. He serves on the poetry staff at Raleigh Review and is a lecturer at Iowa State University.