Work From Home

Before the morning chill burns off
I’m in front of my computer screen

and somebody on the internet needs me
to look at them. Working from home

is just like working in outer space, I imagine.
I go to the bathroom

just to go somewhere. I hear my neighbors
through the wall, and my heart jumps—

there are others. Their faucet runs.
They’re in there together, laughing.

I return to my workspace and my coffee needs to be reheated
again. Because my mother raised me

to outlive her, I used to stand in another room,
away from the microwave, but now that I’ve taken

to the practice of mindfulness
I leave my hand on its door handle

and pay attention, like my niece when she plays
Microwave, zapping soda cans

in her plastic appliance labeled Just Like Home.
The waves pass through me—

my soft tissue lighting up like phantom vibrations
in a dead landline. Until the sun goes down I orbit

between my workspace, bathroom, kitchen, bed,
taking conference calls about artificial intelligence.

First order of business is to define what intelligence is,
then how to avoid a dystopian eventuality.

We hold our phones away from our ears,
speakers on high, because we all read

the same headline about radiation.
When somebody’s dog barks near the phone

somebody else’s dog barks back.
This is the best part of my day.

Ryann Stevenson