Small data

by Allison Gallagher


I keep reading about the importance of big data,

but it is difficult for me to be enthusiastic

when I am already so personally invested in

small data


Which is to say, I want to know deeply esoteric

details about your life; the colour

of the jumper you wore the night

you first realised you were gay


The brand of dog food

you bought for the childhood labrador

that you loved and who loved you


that first taught you death is real;

how you cried for weeks afterwards


People who don’t see the value in small data

have never, obviously, been in love


We kiss like a slow dial-up connection,

transfer nanobyte-sized files

that spell out every frustrating

intricate thing about ourselves


& if my heart is a zip file

I want you to unpack me


like 3D WordArt

sprawled haphazardly across the

Geocities webpages of each other’s

bare boned Web 1.0 bodies


We gift one another

boxes upon boxes of floppy disks

for things that could be said more succinctly

with one hard drive —


Our love is not a hard drive


Our love is not a hard thing



About the author

Allison Gallagher is a writer whose work primarily explores queerness and transgressive bodies. Her work has been published in The Guardian, Overland and Kill Your Darlings, among others. Her first poetry collection, Parenthetical Bodies, was released in 2017 through Subbed In, and she is currently working on its follow-up.

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Parenthetical Bodies by Allison Gallagher
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