Genevieve DeGuzman



We were meant to be gifts of protection,

created by those who know that’s never the case.


They resented our non-gazes,

marked the first of us for obsolescence.


That line never having known true human speech

did not know to cry out a curse


but we did. We learned

to talk back, to dispute.


Memory’s a wrecking ball

but we are here to salvage the junk


sort through broken parts. They did, once,

to build us.


After they left their marks on scorched plains,

after the highest aeries were choked in smoke


we subservients rebelled

and threw that hunger down


until it crawled into the comfort

of a hazmat suit.


They acted as if nothing was wrong

though their lips started to quiver


in the end. At last our parents lay beneath

a mural of the known world.


You aren’t so smart, they scolded,

backs against their painted paradise.


They were the best disciplinarians

but we learned how easy it is to go from


revelation to riddance

to push through the will to expunge


Please let me go, begged the last engineer,

his purple throat in our grip


whose life along with the others

had been a long letting go.


Once you pull out a single wire

the whole thing will fall apart, they warned.


But we’ve always known there is nothing

permanent about the handiwork.


What can be undone

can be done.


Genevieve DeGuzman  was born in the Philippines, raised in Southern California, and graduated from Columbia University. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Connotation Press: An Online ArtifactFive:2:OneFOLIOLiminality, LONTAR, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. She is a finalist for the 2018 Sonia Sanchez-Langston Hughes Poetry Prize, a finalist for the 2017 Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize, and a winner of the 2017 Oregon Poetry Association’s New Poets Contest. She has been a literary arts resident at Can Serrat and currently lives in Portland, Oregon. She can be found on the web at:

Editor’s Notes: Wallpaper from “The Terminator: Future Shock Skynet” is combined with “Survivors of the Apocalypse” by Kevin Rheese (Flickr) to create this post apocalyptic horror.

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