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.
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