a battleground courses in jingfei

a battleground courses in jingfei
D.A. Xiaolin Spires

nanobots that flood jingfei
do not have mouths eyes nose
they do not have arms and legs as we know it
they bump as particles, prod
careen against others
billiard balls of immense infinitesimal aggression

when she was designated patient zero
her eyelids already turned a violent yellow
her hair fell out in clumps
bouquets of her organic self
clogged the bathroom drain

a monstrosity of a human remained
a weakened, skeletal mess
before her electrocardiogram
petered to near flatline

six months with surgical masks
and fingers prodding at her chest
in her mouths
needles and needles

and finally the last resort was named

the tube was slim
as delicate as her arms
just a prick of the inner elbow
another at the back of her right knee

the nanobots flew like big-bellied salmon
careening down the rivers of her limbs
leaping at capillary walls

you can see them sometimes
minute bumps that flash on her skin
easily mistaken for a wayward goosebump

the battle of huai-hai they called it
chinese civil war

the rural bulk of her heart
held by mao
country wells
pumping bosom of a tired mass

the legions flowing in through streams
chang kaishek’s
stronghold of the cities
arteries full of industrious
nanobots, crafted synthetic armies
urban transit towards the center

in the end
the pumping mass prevailed
the heart of her rustic self
streaked with an ailing core
pushed away the throngs
to the fringes
and out

history repeats itself

as the nanobots retreat
as the heart failed to sustain
the great collapse
the great famine
bodily structural revolution

until only the frame remained
jingfei, her mother whispered
she hugged her battlefield
site of a daughter

as the nanobots leaked out of her system

D.A. Xiaolin Spires stares at skies and wonders what there is to eat out there in the cosmos. Spires aspires to be a 3-D printing gourmand, but will happily concede with producing and consuming quixotic fiction and poetry.  Spires lives in oscillation between Asia and the US, and currently resides in Hawai’i. You can find her sniffing tropical fruit at farmer’s markets, scouring lawns and beaches for fallen plumeria blossoms and boarding research vessels. Her work appears or is forthcoming in various publications such as Liminality, ClarkesworldAnalog, Grievous Angel, Reckoning, Retro Future, LONTAR, Gathering Storm Magazine, Andromeda Spaceways, Star*line, Eye to the Telescope and Story Seed Vault; as well as anthologies of the strange and delightful, such as Sharp & Sugar Tooth, Broad Knowledge and Ride the Star Wind. She can be found on her website daxiaolinspires.wordpress.com or on Twitter: @spireswriter.