Rachael; Voight-Kampff Test

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You see an owl. Darkling, its wing rush
brushes the chamber’s curved cheek, sketching
a path you step into. Your pocketed hand.
You meet a man at work. He unpacks
his device, canted, black as your jacket,
a dark nostalgia. On the table
a bonsai strains in its vessel. May you
ask him a personal question?
What is a personal question?
You light a cigarette. Smoke rises, catching
what sun slips through the shaded glass.
Behind the veil: your eyes lambent
as two coins. It won’t affect the test.

It’s your birthday. Your eyes like coins.
How can it not know what it is?

O providence, its owlish face.
Easy to speak of commerce atop
his own golden ziggurat, its twin
dimmed and looming. Factory, forge.

An experiment, nothing more says Tyrell,
naming the past a gift as if he’d never heard
of a mother devoured by her young.
That archeological landscape,
silent as a sphinx.

We began to recognize in them
a strange obsession

He never names it.

Rachael; Voight-Kampff Test by Jan Bottiglieri

Image from Blade Runner (1982)




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About Author

Jan Bottiglieri is a freelance writer who lives and works in Schaumburg, Illinois; she holds an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University. Some of Jan's previous publications include poems in Court Green, Margie, Cloudbank, and Bellevue Literary Review, as well as the anthologies Brute Neighbors and Solace in So Many Words. She has led poetry workshops throughout suburban Chicago and is an associate editor with the literary annual RHINO.

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