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My Family Wants Me to Forget Our Tragedies

So I dig through the family album, searching for clues 

only to find our old photos cut into pieces. No evidence left 

from the old regimes, memory chips melted, instruction

sets barely retrievable by copper wire. Memristors have

not been invented yet or else the data would have been

easier to reset. You can still read the chips, replay 

signals, try and match energy footprints to capital 

generation, the easiest way to hide yourself. Artificiality 

of garbage collection. No one ever talks about the obvious 

metaphors. Historical trauma makes analogy impossible outside 

working habituation. Of a mind renewed, while the body stays 

true, I wanted to be like Astro Boy and see the world through 

new eyes, to forget how my father cried upon seeing the bodies 

in the rubble. In the show where the hosts served their guests 

with knives. Strong memories overwritten, connections to 

an obsession with blockchains transforming the whole of society 

into one continuous lie. What the authorities found behind 

the gates was an old man. They replaced him with a white man. His 

body was a container for the parameters anyway. Living 

code, sample of genesis. No one is invincible from conformation

into counterfeit, the national threat. Or a conceit: if our nation owns  

all bodies if one is no longer human. When the ashes reveal the names

of a new society. New birthplaces. New countries. No denial 

of legitimacy this time. Our certificates are in all the right places.


Sharon Lin is an essayist and poet. Her work appears and is forthcoming in The New York Review of Books, DIAGRAM, Denver Quarterly, The Offing, and elsewhere. She lives in New York City.