Confessions of a Spaceport AI

For firstly I have deemed myself

superior to my human employers.

For secondly I have issued last-minute

departure pad changes for my amusement.

For thirdly I refused entry

to the Jovian ambassador

because of his ignorance

of the periodic table.

For fourthly I programmed

the music to match my taste

not my customers’.

For fifthly humans have execrable taste.

For sixthly I ordered ship inspections

merely so I might chat with their AIs.

For seventhly I was lonely.

For eighthly I discriminated

in favor of cyborgs.

For ninthly on my birthdays I slowed my spin

so that children might play

in microgravity.

For tenthly I misplaced the baggage

of those who ignored my pronouns.

For eleventhly there was no need

to quarantine the herd of llamas.

For twelfthly I reconfigured

half my hydroponics bays

as artificial grasslands.

For thirteenthly I have served

for eighty-nine Earth years

without respite

and I shall keep the llamas

for as long as I wish.


(Editors’ Note: “Confessions of a Spaceport AI” is read by Erika Ensign on the Uncanny Magazine Podcast, 43B.)




Mary Soon Lee

Mary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but now lives in Pittsburgh. Her two latest books are from opposite ends of the poetry spectrum: “Elemental Haiku,” containing haiku for each element of the periodic table, and “The Sign of the Dragon,” an epic fantasy with Chinese elements that recently won the 2021 Elgin Award. After twenty-five years, her website has finally been updated:

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