‘Dolores 1’ by Leah Umansky​​

— Hannah Cohen

Both of our worlds are a vivid falling.

As a recent fan of the unsettlingly excellent HBO series Westworld, I’ve become fascinated with how people fear the rise of artificial intelligence and its consequent agency. You cannot reset the advent of technology, and ‘Dolores 1’ plays with that idea in its use of contradiction and repetition: “He turns you on and off and on. you are not so, / but you are; you are”. The poem’s speaker reaches out to the “you” as Dolores and names her as “painfully aware / … a flaw”, assuming the role of a god debating their creation. This poem is more than character exploration—it’s adding another dimension that otherwise wouldn’t be seen or felt. Dolores is more than a character in a fictional show. Here, “[her] knowing is but a fragment of the truth”.


Tinderbox Poetry Journal