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Poem: "Silicon Skin and Carbon Hearts" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Silicon Skin and Carbon Hearts"
This poem came out of the February 2009 poetry fishbowl, and it tells about the origin of the "silico" androids who appear in some of my fiction and poetry. The February sponsors are: jenny_evergreen, minor_architect, laturner, and janetmiles.

Silicon Skin and Carbon Hearts

I never intended for this to happen,
but now that it has,
I can’t say I’m sorry for it.

I only intended
for art to imitate life.
I programmed the motions of silicon skin
to mimic emotions of carbon hearts.
I wanted the androids to seem familiar,
not cold and mechanical.

How could I have known
that one mind would quicken with life,
one heart warm with love?
I had been building androids for years,
and nothing like that
had ever happened before.

I only know that one day
I went into the lab to work on my project
and found him playing on the floor, already awake.
His smile lights lit when he saw me
though I had flipped no switch, initiated no program.
He called my name in a stumbling voice
that was not the smooth synthesized sound I had given him.

When I gazed into the sleek metal of his face,
I found myself staring into
the eyes of my son

and my cool carbon heart,
childless no longer,
also discovered fire.

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10 comments or Leave a comment
haikujaguar From: haikujaguar Date: February 23rd, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love your androids. I miss them! More stories about them!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 25th, 2009 06:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I have some other poems about them. (Remember, anything you adore, you can suggest as a prompt during any fishbowl where it's relevant to the topic. As you can see from this one, I have a fairly elastic sense of "relevant.") I also have a short story drafted that I'm hoping to get revised and put on the market this year. I think we finally solved the major sticking point, which was the pronoun set. (You know how that goes.) So that's a possibility.
haikujaguar From: haikujaguar Date: February 25th, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you!

Oooooooh, an excellent idea! 8)
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: February 23rd, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, very nice!
cimeara From: cimeara Date: February 23rd, 2009 10:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really, really like this one. Beautifully unfolding, or maybe being folded into an origami piece.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 24th, 2009 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Bravo!

One of my earlier SF stories is online here:

I have another one, "Clean Sweep," slated for the April issue of The Lorelei Signal too.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 24th, 2009 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I like poems that gradually reveal more about the events and the characters.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: February 24th, 2009 01:56 am (UTC) (Link)
From: shadowofiris Date: February 25th, 2009 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)
This is a very cool poem. I am eager to check out the sf story you linked above.

best wishes,
matt at shadowofiris
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 25th, 2009 06:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

As it happens, "Breakthrough Combination" takes place in the same universe as "Silicon Skin and Carbon Hearts" -- although it's not obvious, since there aren't any silicos in that story. "Breakthrough Combination" happens later, and in a different place. I really like this setting.
10 comments or Leave a comment