Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Now on the west coast, Ed is the only man in my life.

He is small, silver-haired, lightweight, and thin, although he does have a tendency to overheat. He fits on my lap, goes everywhere with me, and when he is happy, when I am working, a silver apple glows on his skin; you can see it from the street.

Ed is my computer: a Mac iBook G3.

My family first got a computer when I was in junior high. It was big and loud and slow to load, and I filled it up. Before that, there were word processors, one step up from typewriters with their handled lids and correction ribbons. I was always running out of ribbons, rumbling through drawers hoping to find an extra one in the same way I would later hunt for stamps.

When you’re too young to drive, you’re at the mercy of your fingers.

My father bought me a laptop when I published my first poem in a “real” magazine. I guess you’re serious about this, he said. I blew out a hard drive when I plugged an early power adapter into the wall first. I blew out a hard drive when my computer languished in the summer in my attic office in Gettysburg.

Ed has flown back and forth across the country three times now. Each time I said, careful when airport security slid him down the conveyor belt.

That your computer? they ask.
That’s my life, I say.

I don’t ask much of my machines, just that they work, just that they hold everything I pour into them, which is a lot, which is often unorganized, and not backed up anywhere else, and often, at the last minute, papers are flying, the post office closes in ten minutes, I have a deadline, and jesus god, please work, just work, please.

I ask a lot more of my boyfriends. That I move across the country and live by myself (or with a male roommate, as I do now). That I have a plethora of male friends. That I write poems and stories about strangers who came before, strangers who did terrible things. And I read them out loud in front of strangers again and again, and once, you slid in at the last minute in the front row, and when my water glass got low, tipped it higher.

Ed was a gift from my boyfriend, Dr. Gilbert Blythe (Ed is his real middle name).

And although his battery is held in with a small piece of duct tape, though he doesn’t have enough memory for Garage Band, software of my dreams, I have him and he works. He works. Thank you.