Andrew Shields




Third-Person Effect


for Ben Detenber


Somebody’s wrong on the Internet, and everyone else

is grabbing a mouse to be sure to get in on the clicks.

Some guy in Johannesburg already knocked down his Coke and destroyed

his keyboard, but luckily not his computer. He looks at

his screen, and all he can do is stare at untruth while the phone’s

ringing the tech-support number. And now he’s on hold:

music he’s always despised is worming its wily way

into his brain. Can you hear it? He doesn’t have

an icicle’s chance in a Richtersveld summer. He’s lost to the music

that somebody else in Geneva can hear and ignore.

Natalie’s reading the page, and she’s changing her mind even though

her English has never improved as much as she’d like.

Maybe she wouldn’t be falling for lies she was reading in French.

From her apartment, she has a good view of the lake

except that this morning the fog is so thick she can barely see

the building going up on the other side of the street.

Her coffee is ready; she carries her cup to the window to think,

watching the shivering people below as they wait

for buses to take them to work, where they’ll turn on their screens and discover

that somebody on the Internet is wrong.




Andrew Shields lives in Basel, Switzerland. His first full-length collection, Thomas Hardy Listens to Louis Armstrong, is being published by Eyewear in June 2015. Twitter: @ShieldsAndrew      Blog:

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