The egg that cracks open is made of metal. The birds that escape from its insides are made of metal too: their wings sharpened by tools, a gear where a lung should be, their bones hollow. The frog’s mouth opens like a knight’s helmet—gravity swinging the jaw open like a breadbox, a bolt bore through its fat gullet. You have swallowed your children: they jump out and over my head like the sound of your ancestors, the sinews in their legs replaced with the gears in the watch that my mother gave to me. Before the city, before they stacked family on top of family like a blank through a die, we could hear the frogs call out to each other while we tried to sleep: you on top of me like a thin sheet of foil, your edges molded to meet mine. This process is performed with difficulty, with caution, with sacrifice. All of the pieces were marked out: you prefer oil and Prussian blue, but I am not an engineer—I do not know how to measure the flatness of things. I know that your cheek is concave and your calves are not. I will use violet to mark out the rough parts for further machining. I would mix the violet with resin, but the insects too are no longer organic. We cannot finish the violin. We cannot touch the apple—we will cut it into small curved pieces. The worm in the apple is made of copper pipe. The worm has eyes. The worm can blink.
We have lost everything. I can’t tell you when it happened—yet I knew it would happen. We ran out of numbers for X. It will be strange being home: I will stand on top of the buildings and my hair will move. In the future I will change color. My body will collapse in on itself—it will turn into a stick of gum and shoot skywards like an elevator, like the lift we stood silent in. When the carriage slows, jump. If the timing is right, you will freeze in the air like a hummingbird, like a dying spark. I should have stopped time—to have you in the air forever. These types of things are not meant for the ground. This is why I chose violet—to stop all of this from happening. I can make night here: I can bring the stars inside. Here, in the future, there will still be night. We do not know how to stop the earth from spinning yet—to keep the sun on the tops of our round heads while the rest of the world sleeps in darkness. What I thought were stars were shards of glass. What I thought were shards of glass were shards of ice. It is too cold here, I know.
Tell me where to go from here. To the left, fire. To the left, we remember walking down to the pond and watching the frogs jump into the water when we stamped our feet near the edge. To the left, where this all began: a factory, a magnet. In the future, you didn’t exist yet: you appeared in order to finish a phrase, to make this about more than saving the world that someone created. To save the world made of metal is not enough. There are machines in the woods. There is you to think about.
Scrape away the metal on my stomach to reveal a narrow line for marking. Line me up—use the window ledge as your guide. Cut a hole in my body. Circle cutters make round holes. Attach the blades and oscillator.
This is the building that we will live in when the future comes. I will keep you from overheating. This is the bed we will sleep in. There will still be night. This is where we will go from here—we will go up. We will walk on top of clouds but it will still be raining—the water will pour upwards through the floor. Read the song of the birds, the great light dawning. Think of the frogs. Don’t worry. In the future, we can eat the copper worm. We can drink the oil cold. We can compress the fillings and drop them from the sky. In the future, the metal will not rust in the rain. Keep the fan rotating. Keep nothing that reminds you of skin. Keep things moving. Keep thinking you used to spin me by hand. Keep me level and feed me to the saw.