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Gone Lawn 18
Spring, 2015

New Works

Katha Sikka

Metaphor . . . Did You Mean to Say Methyl Blue?


An overpowering stench of methyl blue[1] consumed the room, hypnotizing the robots to enter and activate themselves by monotonously repeating their mantra, e = mc^2, in perfect synchronization with every time they touched a tile, a black one.

Each touch was an oath to their assimilation with the coldness and inanimateness of the ground, but that did not mean that the white blood cells[2] did not try to regain possession of each robot's body and turn its sensory system into what was once a brain and its power source into what was once the beating of its heart.

Each touch destroyed such attempts.

Yet, there was one female robot that encountered many "technological glitches" during its alteration from human to robot due to an alleged virus that entered into its computer programming.

A virus that made Ebola look like the common cold, or at least that was what the other robots said.

A virus that made her think that e = mc^2 was e. e. cumming's first cousin.

A virus that was believed to have previously lived inside Rowling and made the robot yearn to reacquaint herself with Muggles and to again be one herself.

A virus that made her want to believe that the Second Law of Thermodynamics[3] would allow for the warmth of her library shelf to flow into her:

The prevention of each book's fall as the shelf held all the books in one place and the reliance conveyed as each book rested on each other. They established a nuclear family, a mutualistic relationship[4], while the robots accumulated nuclear weapons, forming a parasitic[5] army.

The sight of the library made her power source tingle, but others blamed this as "interference with outside stimuli."

But the tingling would never be followed by heat. The heat would never enter into her because she was abused. Abused by HIM with the repeated smothering of reflective overcoats[6] to prevent her from overheating and from slowing down.

Aside from autocorrecting chemiosmosis[7] to Chaucer and entomology[8] to etymology, natural selection decided her mutation was most favorable for the subject of biology.

Study of (prey) life. Something she would only study because it would always escape the predator that was her (soul) motor.

Her duty today was to dissect a frog and conclude as to whether its mucus should be added to the robots' reflective overcoats. And as the slime covered her hands, and the frog's spots created a path of stones across its body, she could not help but realize that she did not have an imported virus, but she was an imported species, like the frog itself, which had to be killed, or else, it would wreck havoc to the native area. And she brought it closer and closer, the tightening of her throat as if a path of stones was created across her esophagus.

And ate ...

"Your pasta, did you eat it?" my grandfather said, as HE read the science section of the New York Times. Every time he turned a page, a jarring note was created, on the piano of black keys[9], the piano of accidentals. A# for anaphase[10], F# for friction. But I was no less. I also turned my pages of Fountainhead, transposing HIS cacophony of sharpness from anaphase to anaphora, from friction to fiction on my piano of white keys[11], the piano of naturals, avowing to never touch those black tiles.

My grandfather, who put physics and chemistry at the sides of God, spoke as I added red pepper, and my mother, who magnified the 1000x[12] scope of science, spoke as I added salt, while the sugar was left untouched.

But if the sugar was left untouched, so was the methyl blue because once touched, it would diffuse into my brain cells and signal the neurons to generate an electrical impulse that would rewire me and turn this dream into a reality.

[1] A chemical compound that is used as a stain to darken specimens when viewed under a microscope
[2] Cells of the immune system that protect the body from infection
[3] The flow of heat from a body of higher temperature to a body of lower temperature
[4] Two organisms of different species that are in a relationship in which they both benefit
[5] Two organisms of different species that are in a relationship in which one is benefited and the other is harmed
[6] Coatings that prevents the absorption of heat through the reflection of light
[7] Stage of ATP production
[8] Study of insects
[9] The black keys on a piano are called accidental keys because they create sharp or flat notes.
[10] Stage of cell division
[11] The white keys on a piano create natural notes without sharps or flats.
[12] Magnification of an image on a microscope


Katha Sikka is inspired by many writers and often observes their elements such as Jane Austen's extensive knowledge of human nature and incorporates it into her own writing style. She is involved in all the literary clubs at her school, including Jane Austen Society of North America, Literary Magazine, and Newspaper. In addition, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the most prestigious program for creative teens in the United States, awarded her writing piece a Gold Key, the highest level of regional recognition. She also volunteers at LaGrange Library where she is steeped in the presence of books, and authors such as Ayn Rand have shaped who she is today.