Inspired by We, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s 1921 science fiction novel
The illness, it started like raindrops on shoulders, Calypso’s reprisal, condemning the sea.
Your life’s graphed and numbered, and digits are self; The wealth of the State owns your hands and your tongue.
The walls are mere windows, your eyes are policed, But she’s smoking and scheming with lips of her own.
She implores you to slaughter the reticent bird That you’ve wrapped ‘round your neck—wouldn’t you like to live?
She disgusts you, you say as you stagger back home, Back to boxes and tables and patriot’s breath.
But the days gurgle by and you stomach the dull, And you think of the questions reluctance lays bare:
What if freedom holds meaning beyond rule’s reproach? What if pity’s a thing of the modern and just?
Then it happens: you wake with a shudder and wail; Your mind’s marred with landscapes of fantasy’s reign.
You’re infected with dreams, like the primitive ones; You’ve developed a soul—how incurably sick!
They’ll preserve you in amber, in jars tightly sealed; You’ll be studied for science, preventatively.
But the doctor, he gives you a fraudulent smile; He’ll absolve your offense. He has dreams of his own.
Ren Koppel Torres has adored fantasy books since the dawn of time and published The Shadow in Her Pocket, a fantasy novel, at sixteen years old. Ren was born in New York City in a Jewish-Mexican-American family and now lives in Austin, Texas. Ren is passionate about promoting more diverse voices in the arts and advocating for child literacy. Ren is also a freelance writer, a visual artist, a guitarist in a rock band, a succulent aficionado, and a high school student. Find Ren at @KoppelTorres on Twitter and KoppelTorres.com