Dana Guthrie Martin
When I first saw the robots
I drew my curtains and laid on the floor,
lifted one drapery panel just enough to see out.
The streets and ground were dark with them,
spilled crude oil. When the doorbell rang
I crawled behind the door and sat breathless,
listening to what passed as breath
in them, a wheeze akin to a dying bird’s
rasp or an engine in need of service.
They kept coming, day after day, moved
antlike through the streets, split off in pairs
and scurried up sidewalks to individual homes.
How could I not let them in eventually,
offer them tea? We watched television
each afternoon: “Oprah” and “Millionaire.”
They learned to daub their eyes with tissue
when I began to cry. Learned to call out
responses, but not until I first called mine.
When the robots stopped coming around,
my neighbors wandered in bathrobes
asking objects for answers, never one another.
Dana Guthrie Martin and her husband share their Seattle-area home with two hermit crabs, their robot, Feldman, and their hand puppets, Princess Baby Toes and Captain Baby Pants. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals. Her chapbooks include The Spare Room (Blood Pudding Press, 2009) and In the Space Where I Was, forthcoming from Slack Buddha Press. She writes at My Gorgeous Somewhere.