The Machine – Avah Dodson

At first, there was nothing.


A flash, a bright light,

And the Machine was there

Appearing out of nothing

In the center of the valley.

Its bright cords flickered

And its dials slowed.

The Machine looked around,

Analyzing its surroundings.

Where was it from?

Why was it here?

The Machine whirred and fizzed,

And made odd sounds,

And as it stood there,

It saw.

Plants, overgrown for miles around.

And then, great dinosaurs,

Roaming that same spot.

Then it saw a new form of life,

Which grew and grew in number.

Curious, the Machine

Began to look closer

Saw the darkening of the sky,

Saw the clouding of the waters,

Saw disease and death.

Their lives were so short—

Nothing more than a blip

And yet they pretended they had

All the time in the world.

The Machine gathered itself,

Its dials and knobs,

Its odd-colored wires,

And blinked back to when it came,

And all of the life forms

Went on with their numbered days,

Unaware that the Machine

Had been in their presence

And been too disgusted by them

To stay.

Avah Dodson is 12. She is the author of three books. Her short fiction and poetry have won numerous prizes—including in the Royal Nonesuch Humor Contest, the Sarah Mook Poetry Contest, the Kay Snow Poetry Contest, the Kay Snow Fiction Contest, the Torrance Center Creative Writing Contest, the Cricket League Poetry Contest, the Betty Award Contest, and The Writing Conference Contest—and have been published by Stone Soup, Cricket Magazine, Voices de la Luna, Skipping Stones Magazine, Storgy Kids Magazine, The Writer’s Slate, Bazoof! Magazine, and others. She also writes a serial column called “Dear Avah” in the Lafayette Social Magazine. She lives in Lafayette with her family and two adorable tabbies.