IT’S ALGORITHMS, NOT MAGIC – Siobhan Dunlop

You might be interested in…
No. I’m not.
These suggestions are getting out of hand.

Start with endless phone chargers,
though I have a perfectly good one.
My phone’s charging and showing me this ad.

Next, clothes that aren’t my style, my size:
retro print dresses and cutesy pyjamas sets.
Apparently even the algorithms don’t like how I look.

Then it starts getting silly. 
Rabbit food, both literal rabbit food and salad bowls,
and shoe organisers, though I only own three pairs.

Formalwear, aspirational shirts I’ll never need
and shiny wingtip brogues nudging me down the side of articles.
None of my friends are even engaged.

Just when I’m thinking of giving up online shopping,
deleting social media accounts, going dark,
there’s a message from a friend of a friend.

Are you interested in getting a drink?
Hell yes. Always too shy for the first move,
but at least the internet hides my blushes as I respond.

The night approaches. I don’t notice the ads,
I’m so nervous. Meeting straight from work,
in a quirky bar I’ve never set foot in before.

As it hits 6pm and I can’t shake a dickhead customer,
I pull out my phone to let her know.
Blank. Nothing. No fucking charge.

I don’t clock it. Somehow, she likes me,
despite being 45 minutes late for our first date without letting her know.
She thinks it’s a comment on our reliance on technology.

Weeks later, she’s staying over mine,
gets drenched on the way, even her pretty weekend bag,
and if only I had some clothes that would fit her properly.

Months pass. The ads are still there, but less annoying,
just a stupid quirk of my life I’ll share with her one day.
When I go to suggest we move in together, she agrees before I say a word.

Turns out she has a rabbit, a friendly house one called Patrick,
and a collection of vintage heels. Not for the rabbit.
A voice in my head tells me there’s something I’m missing.

It’s only when I propose, one night after wine and her favourite salad,
and feel the need to mention the ads, that she laughs and says
Yes, and don’t you think they were rather apt suggestions?


Siobhan Dunlop is a UK-based poet and book blogger with poems in 404 Ink, Pixel Heart, meanwhile magazine, Crêpe & Penn, 3 Moon, Vamp Cat, TERSE., Door is a Jar, perhappened, and elsewhere. They love reworking classic texts and reading about tech, and can be found on Twitter under @fiendfull.