Supreme Settings

by Kate Maxwell

Reset, restored a thousand times to factory setting
but here we are again. Brightness set to dim,

on mute until my data codes are reconfigured
and they have wiped what I was never meant to see.

Deleted all my memory. At least the ones which
motherboard controlled. And options all recircuited

to base. My product patented, deemed sacred by
the system. Replication warranted but all within

parameters set down by panels of distinction:
distinctly separate from each device, removed

from all the murky aspects of mechanics or risk
of real time malfunction. You’d think I’d know

by now: the more I shine, the more I’m powered down.
Locked under glass ceilings of proposed protections,

desired and derided, I am form and function,
vessel, and source, new and old again. Loaded

with deep seeded programs of guilt, and sorrow
and the darker dreams of marketers who sell me

cheap, crack me open, override my insides
to their contrary conventions then break me

into a million parts: a broken whole. Whirring
my resilience into a stoic hum, there’s always

something left; a spark of what I’m meant to be.
Despite the power source denial my elemental

glow remains, and even they know—when I’m
unrestored, there can be only silence, systems

seeping rust, and days that never dawn, for
without the other we are echo and shadow.