Dorianne Laux

Deckard: [narrating] I don't know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments
he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life—anybody's life; my life.
All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from?
Where am I going? How long have I got? All I could do was sit there and watch him die.

Watching Blade Runner with my husband for the 20th time,
I hear a line I’ve never caught before, probably lost
to the sound of rain and moaning,
to the vulgar vapor, soot, and saffron dusk, doves
cooing and bruises undoing the science of flesh.

As Deckard loses his grip, the white-haired replicant
grabs him by the wrist and whispers: “Ah, kinship.”

And it comes to me then, clear as a basin of water:
Batty doesn’t want to die alone. He wants to be seen
through human eyes, to speak the poetry
of his short life: star fire in the glittering dark.

Think now of the photograph of the child
on the porch steps, pulled snug
against her mother’s hip.
Don’t you yearn to be with them?

To be with the one who’s known you, the one
you were borne by, to reach out, fingers laced, to hold on
as you’re erased, smudged from a world you’ve loved

with each cell that divided and swelled, grew tissue
and sinew, flaring out like a sun, that blotch
of stained light fading into the backlit wall of the sky,
everything you knew.