Tasseography in Blade Runner

“…morphology, longevity, incept dates…”
               —Roy Batty, Blade Runner

You don’t have to read tea leaves to see that
the Nexus 6 standing over you wants answers:
What will happen to me in 2019? Why the Stars
& Bars by the door? Why do you humans treat
this planet like some curio shop for tchotchkes?
Is that “Free Bird” on your alarm-clock radio?

This yellow-haired Roy has just awakened you
from a deep sleep. Now for his tantrum, a rant
lost like the transmissions from dead worlds,
each signal creating a theory of Creation and
why all the planets wobble on a random axis.
No one comes home from a distant galaxy for
the purpose of dying to a Lynyrd Skynyrd song.
The air in the room is a canvas of graves, talk
of Routine Retirements no one cares to solve.
You tell him your name is Roy, too. He says,
Then, tell me, Roy Two: Why am I doomed?  
He’s armed. Nothing to lose. You know this
as you reach for the hunting knife you keep
between box springs and mattress. You grasp
the handle like they do in the movies. Clear
sheath and bedding. Bury the blade. Wait. 
Something in the DNA then decides which
sleeper next enters the gauzy mausoleum.
The sun is up as usual and “Free Bird” is
still playing. Your hand is still on the knife.
If this part of your life had been predicted
that cup of tea would’ve been knocked over
long ago. This is all that loneliness you let go,
all that separation making the knife shine so. 




About the Author: Roy Bentley is the author of Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama), Any One Man (Bottom Dog), The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine), and Starlight Taxi (Lynx House). A new book, his fifth, Walking with Eve in the Loved City, has been selected by Billy Collins as a finalist for the 2018 Miller Williams poetry prize and will be published by the University of Arkansas Press in spring.