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  You could have a big dipper   

Loss by Lane Chasek

We reached the top floor of Sears Tower in ‘08

and witnessed Chicago’s sprawling nightscape—

the barges, the luminescent arteries

of roads and railways threading between

the massive buildings, and there we were at the top

of the tallest building of all. And while you admired

the city below, all I could think of was the shampoo

I’d lost in our hotel room.

I’d brought

my Asimov anthology to the Tower

in case I got bored

or needed to be alone with words, but even Asimov’s tales

of androids and space colonists couldn’t distract me

from the $16 bottle of tea tree oil shampoo

that had gone missing

and would remain missing.

I eventually lost that Asimov anthology, too,

but I at least remember

the story I was reading between glimpses

of the city below: A robopsychologist was helping

an astronaut recover a spaceship which had been hijacked

by a rogue AI, and the astronaut, obviously, was angry,

but the robopsychologist loved that AI like her own child

and told the astronaut how she thought AIs, with enough

human guidance, could end wars and hunger

and finally bring peace to this sorry galaxy

if humans would just give them a chance.

The astronaut didn’t want to listen, just wanted to

cling to his anger and rant about

the galaxy falling into careless cybernetic fingers.

Thirteen years later and I’ve lost everything from that night, and the tallest building

in Chicago isn’t even called Sears Tower anymore. Names,

stories, clean scalps, it doesn’t matter—time’s in the business of losing.


Lane Chasek (he/him) is the author of the nonfiction novel Hugo Ball and the Fate of the Universe and the poetry collection A Cat is not a Dog. Lane is the founding editor of Warp 10 Lit and is an editor at Jokes Literary Review. Twitter: @LChasek

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