Robots don’t believe in ghosts, they attribute
the wheezing and clicking of late-night phantoms
to faulty streetlights and glitches on the power grid.
If a ghost were to present itself to a robot, the robot
would be able to dissect the apparition
as some clichéd space-time anomaly,
something broken in the universe
quickly mended by the natural order of the fabric of space
There would be no need to haunt a world peopled by robots.
In a world run by machines,
ghosts would find themselves
completely explained or dismissed.
The shadows of what we were
would phantom hang or drown or stab ourselves
night after night, scream for an audience
that never feared or learned fear
but only calculates and classifies who an apparition belonged to
and why the ghost is a reappearing specter.
The grave sites will be kept up with meticulous detail,
flowers will be replaced, any new revelations
will be catalogued and stored and examined
in cold but sufficient detail.
Holly Day’s writing has recently appeared in Analog SF, The Hong Kong Review, and Appalachian Journal, and her hobbies include kicking and screaming at vending machines.