POETRY October 7, 2022

Cyborgian Curriculum Vitae

with a nod to Stephanie Burt

According to our correspondence, one vat-grown me
has moved in with my ex. One me’s in space. One me
forgot it was ever me and, past-less and frightened,
ended up finding another me on Ancestry.com.
One has the drive to learn my mother’s language.
The rest of the me’s softly seethe with jealousy. All the cyborgs
got my synaptic-depression blueprint, but only one so far
has followed it from roof to pavement. I only found out
because a me that’s a journalist went to the funeral
and mailed me my obituary, which it wrote. One
week, in a brittle, fatigued pique, I begged a me to live
as me in exchange for a crisp fifty and some Greek takeout.
Its body might have a trillion-terabyte brain,
but it also has a stomach. There’s a me doing time for stealing
a motorcycle because it wanted to ride one
like my father. A me that lives with another me
as twins because it always wanted a sister.
That earns millions livestreaming itself playing video games
alone. Stayed a girl. Didn’t. One me ran off and got hitched
to another me on the sly, despite every one of my
and my and my and my and my and my objections,
but, judging from the Facebook photos,
I’m doing very well. I haven’t risked
myself in years. My friends number in the thousands.
I’m all I have. I’m dying every day. I’m so happy with me,
I could eat myself alive—yes, even the me
that mugged someone in an alley; that still hates
its mother; that hates me for signing
it into techno-permanent existence (which is
really the same thing as hating my mother); that holds
bloodthirsty faith that it’s the original
and I’m the fake; even the one that, feeling
as though nobody would miss it among
all the thronging me's, made like a me
and simply disappeared.

Tobias Tegrotenhuis is a Filipino American lesbian poet based in Colorado. They are a 2022 Lambda Literary Fellow in poetry. A graduate of the University of Colorado Denver’s creative-writing program, they also wrote for and edited The Sentry and served as an associate editor for Copper Nickel. Their work appears or is forthcoming in The Allegheny Review, Glass Mountain, Collision, and other journals. Find them on Twitter @tobionn.