Bernard Page 14
glass-like metal inscribed with a tiny tree-like diagram of lines branching out to form connections, a tiny web of them. "It's the chip it ran on. The brain of the machine! A little beat up, but it would make a cool ring."
     "And the heart," Carmen said in a small voice.      "'Scuse me?" asked the clerk.
     "Nothing ... Can I have it?"
     The clerk shrugged, and Carmen, almost without thinking, raised the chip to her lips and kissed it, the way she used to kiss the cross she still sometimes wore around her neck, then slipped the chip into her purse, tucked the copies under her arm, on one of which read the old computer's serial number, TJX037X2, and quickly left the store.

Christopher Bernard is the founder and a principal of Caveat Lector. He is author of the novel A Spy in the Ruins, several chapbooks of poetry and prose, plays, and philosophical essays.