Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.

The Robot as a Sympathetic Character

Something a little different for me:

The Robot as a Sympathetic Character

Model 47

Perfunctory. Precision. Open, Shut,
Smile. Carry the comestibles to the ladies’ cars,
Tip, tip the hat. Rain, sleet, sun the same
to me. The manager’s daughter mimicked
me for months. For her the hospital. Open,
Shut, Open, Shut. Smiling,
Tip tip the hat. For me, no legs and
the rats’ endless clambering. Above
the skies fill and empty with clouds.
Tip, tip the hat.

Model 763

I’m one of a thousand—
hundred thousand possibly—
who bothers to count any more?
Trash to curb, toddler to kiddie care
mistress to massage, coffee delivered,
check paid. There’s no need for a
housewife, hussy, madam, Mrs.
I do it all, oh yes, technically
I can do it all. I’m programmed
to please, never tired, rejuvenated
with the blink of your eye—headache
free. Just give me your hand
and you’ll see, though I’m secondhand,
originally custom delivered—it’s not
the work, the work has never been
a problem—only the nights he woke
gasping, hearing her blood pulse
in his dreams then waking to his head
pillowed on my hollow heartless breast.

Model 8789

Yes, I know most everything—history,
Genocide, the fragile music of a conch,
how to tabulate the six hundred-thousandth
place of pi, which characters demand the most
strokes from an ermine hair brush, the hour
of the last monk’s death, the final flight path
of the monarch migration to what was once
Mexico. There is little else to mark now,
beyond what passes—this cased circuitry
impervious to the skies and rivers. The last
live birth, I held in my hands. I washed
the boy in the mountain steam and cradled
it against a chest buffered by a blanket
stitched of field mouse fur. I fed him,
dropper by dropper, mouthful by mouthful
from an ancient cache, but he grew wild
as the geese that still impossibly fly, wild
as the stunted trees marring the plains.
He screamed with the voice of the mountain lion
as the pelts fell tattered from my immaculately formed
limbs. The world’s words, Latin, German, French,
Greek—its entire knowledge—incomprehensible
to the child who would only hear the incessant roar
of the wasting wind, and the grey waves' lash upon
the stony shore. Tiburon, I warned, as his blood
blossomed in the bay, shark, I shouted as he
slashed his feet on the slivered remains of
shell and vertebrae, under the great arch
of a humpback’s ribs. I could only repeat
the worthless words, as the creature rose
from the waters, as frail flesh ended itself in the sea


Anonymous said...

I like this muchly, kid.


Amy Unsworth said...

Thanks boss.

Dick Jones said...

Excellent. What a well-trodden area, from Capek through Asimov & onwards. But real freshness here plus poignancy & humour.