The Scouring Screen

They sit intimately together
Upon a couch of fluff,
The feathers of past life,
And enjoy the lack of company.

One is being entertained;
So the other is entertaining
While the one who uses it
Is unaware she is being used.

She stares at the lit-up screen
Now a daily acquaintance
To which she turns an glares
But her privacy is not what it seems.

She remembers news stories
Of people stalked, hacked
And their homes invaded
By an eye so subtle and common.

Like the glossy palantír
Of the realm of Mid-earth
As one said of it, “we don’t
know who else might be watching.”

This lidless mechanized eye
Works both ways if hacked
And it’s been known to happen
Even if she’s not all there.

She finds the shiny eye
To be rather classy;
The one on the other side
Perhaps fancies her the same.

For the individual beyond
The screen so easily broken
Is no mechanical marvel
But a real person or more.

A growing number of people
Observing her around the clock
As if she were a guinea pig
With but a single purpose.

But she sees the electronic eye
Maybe not for what it is
Yet it bothers her at times
Permanently fixated on her.

It’s been half a century
Since AI scared the world
In that red-eyed intellect
In 2001: a space odyssey.

Like HAL reincarnated
From the depths of the interverse
Which is like a net or a web
Interwoven, ensnaring those who enter.

by John Tuttle

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