Timeline II (Self Check-Out)
She remembers. The ringing glow of supermarket
light glares upon her. Trembling quiet bursts
and the store cranks to life. Daybreak shoppers
rush in, calm calamity. Christmas biscuits.
One item has been removed from the
bagging area and all at once she is needed. It
calls for her and she rushes to its side, tapping
and soothing the machine, explaining away its temper.
One day it blares errors she’s never
heard of. Sees menace where she cannot.
She tries to repair what is already broken.
The machine is unplugged, unforgiving.
A software upgrade fixes its illness and she
is no longer needed. She walks through automatic
doors. She grows her own vegetables
and slaughters her own chickens. She forgets.
Mary Kate Nyland is an Irish American writer, currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from University College Dublin. Her prose and poetry work focuses on questions of gender, relationships, and technology.