date night with android xvii

A Poem

By Nkateko Masinga

my drunk alter-ego plays matchmaker:

‘swipe right: he’s got jet black hair
& lists netflix and poetry as interests’ 

in other words, he’s just my type

we meet on a wednesday evening:
midweek specials at the restaurant
and open mic at the bar across the
street 

he goes by the name andy
& does not pretend to have a surname

his skin is surprisingly soft –
my handsome humanoid man. I gush
& avoid the hole in his back as we touch –
a void where his spinal cord would have been –
a void in his realness

later that night
sated from steak and palm wine
i find the courage to ask
if he loves children

‘i‘m on the wrong side of twenty’
i tell him
‘the far side, you know’

he looks away nervously
& i start to think even bots
can smell desperation

i wonder if maybe he’s not programmed
to answer such questions

i ramble on:

‘i don’t know how this will work
but you are unnervingly cute
and your hair is nice and actually 

what I’m trying to say is
i want to give my baby
a father who will not die’