Blueprints for a future self

by Jacquie Shanahan

Your voiceover delivers instructions for the correct use
of industrial-sized 3-D printers, one last record

of your speaking aloud. We picture a white-coated technician
watching your coded animations jolt to the tempo

as you explain how to smooth the flow of layers
shaping liquid into solid form, how inside these glass walls

hours of programming can create new parts on demand
and limbs to fit phantom spaces. Now disembodied,

your voice could be describing blueprints for a digital self
and we listen for encryptions, cyphers pointing the way, years

of unravelling ahead. Until a letter arrives
from the future-of-autopsy lab, a mile from your old flat

asking permission to preserve scans for your virtual twin
and we picture a white-coated technician restoring

three thousand five hundred layers to a 3D skin,
your structure rendered multi-coloured, ethereal

and exact. We send the form back to its unnamed sender
and picture a white-coated technician, decoding your voice.