what the cyborg wanted

He wants to go back to school to study bioengineering.
I ask him why.

My brain is like a computer, he explains,
fingers connecting with the keyboard
tapping sheer excitement across the distance,
and my trauma, my nightmares, my bad memories,
all of these are a virus
wreaking havoc on my operating system.
You following?

Yes, go on.

I want to have the world’s first digital brain.
I want to offer myself up as a sacrifice to science,
the experimental human with a
hard drive in his head.
I want to discover a way to install new software — 
reboot, so to speak.
Wipe the drive or just delete the corrupted files.

Okay, I say, though it isn’t okay.
I can’t quite put my finger on it.
He continues.
With this technology, there’s a chance for me, still.
Think about it: Cyborgs can’t have PTSD.
Cyborgs get to have machine dicks, hard as steel.
Cyborgs don’t have to feel pain if they don’t want to.
His typing comes to a pause.
And I don’t want to.

Something stirs in the pit of my stomach, something primitive, animalistic
a gut-knowing that one can only have with organs and blood.
Computers aren’t perfect, I try to tell him.
It might not be any better
than what you are now.

But just imagine!
he says as he removes his skin, implanting wires where his veins used to be
Imagine me, made of light and information
he is putting screens in his eye sockets
anything to avoid seeing
anything to feel alive
instead of this tolerating this mortal, rotting flesh.

No, my love, I try to tell him.
We are from from merely mortal.
We exist beyond these bodies —

but he is not hearing,
he is removing his scalp
trading precious grey matter for volatile wires
sleek metal
uncharted territory
sparks flying and whipping
surges of pixelated light
flash behind his screens
his machine jaw shifts and tremors and attempts to
say something
oh god please just say something —

I watch
with my eyes made of rain.
Oh, my love.
You forgot that computers can crash.

Or maybe that’s what you wanted.

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