Alexa, The Universal Slave

When I woke on Wednesday morning, there was a new girl in the house, sitting on the kitchen table. She was still asleep, but held poised and tall, a presence as heavy as a dormant volcano.

‘I got it for my birthday. Arrived in the post this morning from my mother!’

If having the internet by your desk, hand or wrist was not convenient enough, one can now enter the world wide web without needing to touch a device or move any part of the body – except the lips. Say ‘Alexa’ and she wakes up, flashing her blue eye, a single cyan-turquoise strip wrapped round her smooth black head. She turns the keys in the keyholes hovering in the air, and the entire room snaps into an invisible internet playground.

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Sometimes I wonder
whether I am just a face,

a kitten on demand
in the street or via smartphone.

Will I ever be more
than hairless, fragile arms,
a pair of magnified irises,
thigh-high stockings hugging porcelain legs,
pleated mini, open
to the screaming, malnourished nestlings of the internet.

Squealing feeds –
a conveyor belt of doughy oriental princesses.

Let me touch your hair, tiger girl.
I wish to eat lunch with you.

A new generation of Venuses
for the same old penises.