By Oliver Tearle
It took a week for us to stop hearing the voices.
Although they had been our constant companions
for years by then, a steady stream of chatter,
it reached the point where they became unbearable.
Each message had become a death to us. Just a little
to start with, soft like the twitter of birds,
not too intrusive perhaps, but then more insistent
by the day, slowly overwhelming, until
our own voices, thoughts, were lost to theirs.
Eventually, it was us or them. They became
mere shouts and remonstrations, pleas and cries,
a tidal wave of suffering without pause,
of snide retorts and performative assertions –
the whole lot began to drown us.
Turn off your radios immediately.
So we tuned out our frequencies to a dead channel,
fourteen billion years of static, that perfect state
before the first authoritarians came,
a numbness welcome to our battered senses,
and, not without some small misgiving,
we cut the line and left the voices dead.
Thankfully we were left not too affected.
They faded like the effects of nepenthe
or the Martian atmosphere in Total Recall.
Already, we wonder how we ever heard the voices.