This poem came out of the January 8, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from janetmiles and siliconshaman. It has been sponsored by janetmiles. You can read more about cyborgs on Wikipedia and TV Tropes.
They were soldiers first,
the cyborgs -- they had been made
to serve in battle, designed to withstand
such stress, armored and equipped
for combat and not much else.
They had the enhanced senses,
the armor plating and the forcefields,
the arm cannons and assorted other weapons.
They were good soldiers.
They parasailed onto planets,
trekked over alien terrain,
and shot down the hostiles.
the war was over -- we won! --
and they were sent home.
At first they did not know
what to do with themselves.
They were too different from the civilians; the stigmata
of cybernetic enhancements could not be removed.
They sat in their assigned apartments
and went to the mandatory counseling,
tried and failed to integrate into society.
One day a hovercar flipped over
right in front of a startled cyborg
on the way to his appointment.
He bent down to the mangled vehicle
and peeled open the ruins of the door
to reach the trapped driver.
When the paramedics arrived, one of them
watched as he brushed away broken glass,
and said to him that she wished she could do that.
In group therapy, the cyborg mentioned
what he had done, and his old troopmates nodded.
Some of them had liked retrieval missions.
This wasn't so different from that.
So the next month when an earthquake hit,
one of them volunteered for search-and-rescue.
She used her enhanced hearing
to listen for screams, and then for whispers.
A week later she was down to listening for heartbeats
and she pulled the last survivor from the wreckage
ten days after the original incident.
Another cyborg wanted to try
creating things instead of destroying things.
It required some reconstruction of his arm cannon
but eventually the laser was fine-tuned enough
to let him cut and weld metal with it.
He took a job repairing bridges by day,
and in the evenings he taught himself sculpture,
slowly building a memorial in the shape of a battleship
from scraps of salvage.
Someone else decided
to volunteer for public service
and went to work as a firefighter.
She ran fearlessly into burning buildings,
her forcefield glowing blue through the golden flames
as she carried civilians to safety.
The course of history has always run down this edge --
an axe can cut a man's head off, or cut wood;
a gun can hunt people, or hunt game;
even a sword can be beaten into a ploughshare.
In the darkness of a desert night,
a cyborg turned the crystalline lenses of his eyes
to the sky and began to study the stars.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, writing
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