The Handcrafted Motions of Flight
by Bogi Takács
The men in suits pay me to remember.
Preceding lives are not always set in the past
and causality traces meandering pathways
upon the manifold surfaces of our world.
I remember the future.
I write it all down; all the fragments
of a tenuous, incoherent lore.
My mind fills in the gaps, unbidden.
There are multiple sets of futures,
multiple lives, multiple selves.
Some are me, some only similar to myself,
and some carry more of me
than my self living and writing in the present.
Hand me another sheaf!
E is the one closest to me
and e is the one who arouses their interest,
with eir memories of weapons and raw power.
They are bothered by the pronouns.
The smallest details can mean the world to me —
that landscape in the future, in a causal past
of smooth beige edges and silence.
I cannot see eir face —
There are no mirrors in the memories.
Eir chest — my chest — is smooth and flat,
eir arms muscular, eir hips wide and round.
I had to assemble everything from pieces
and I could not chance upon a gender
until I realized that was a gender in itself.
They tell me to write about warfare.
E was — is — I am a warrior,
but e remembers only peacetime
and the soundless crashes of training,
eir self surrounded by concepts
I cannot interpret.
E does not dwell on them.
In my mind there is only a firm touch,
a nod, the smile of a comrade,
there is only the air rushing past
and the sense of speed;
all the handcrafted motions of flight.
They ask me if I am a clone (why?)
or if I am inhuman, like a robot
built for a singular military purpose —
not as far as I can tell.
I can sense disappointment
in the voices that urge me to go on.
Obviously this is for the nation —
an imaginary structure of mirrors,
edifices and cufflinks.
I cannot share everything.
Inside, I still owe my allegiance
to the people beyond the haze
of imperfect reconstructions.
A moment stands out.
The balding stranger looks at me
with no internal calculations,
sees me for who I am.
Our interlocking thoughts
pass a message of trust.
They look at me without suspicion
as I mangle facts with a delicate touch.
They do not sense the vertigo of inversion,
the jarring tactile sensation
of patterns shifting from place.
My hesitation is attributed to fear.
They offer assurances of safety
and I nod, earnest and sheepish.
I safeguard what is my own.
Respect offered without regard to interest,
the steady gaze of an unknown passer-by.
I have to build fortifications.
I am not liked; I am useful.
A firm hand gathers the sheets,
a well-groomed head turns away.
The next day lies in wait,
with carefully misaligned lines
on blueprints more coveted
than treasuries of gold.
Despite it all, I retrieve myself.
Bogi Takács is a confusingly gendered Hungarian Jewish woman. Her native language has no gendered personal pronouns and she wishes Spivak pronouns would see wider adoption in English. For the time being she has a hard enough time convincing people to spell her name with an acute accent.
She mostly writes nonfiction for Hungarian magazines. (Topics frequently requested by editors: Nazis, occultism, and cute little animals.) Her English-language speculative poetry has been published in Astropoetica and is forthcoming in Comets and Criminals.
Read Bogi's discussion of this poem and other matters over at the Roundtable!