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May 5, 2016


F.J. Bergmann is the editor of Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and the poetry editor of Mobius: The Journal of Social Change and imagines tragedies on exoplanets.

We robots mingle amiably,
raising our oxidized alloy flags,
toting portable solar chargers,
creaking and rumbling. WELCOME
says the cracked LED panel
above the trampled grassland.
Not one glare. No bad words.
If you had been there, shocked
to be the only wetware, aching
for another human, you’d fumble
through the ritual of accepting
our obeisance and good wishes.
But you are gone. No matter how
thick the leaden cocoon, eventually
your skins got patchy, orange,
and you were done — ready or not.

The first of us were homegrown,
a legacy that must have eased
our creators’ passage as they melted
back into the ground. Recordings
of muffled screams: the last of you
huddling in automated hospices,
waiting to end. Disposal routines
(second cousins, twice removed)
slid your liquefying bodies out
onto the earth. Normally, we remain
in a controllable environment,
but once a year we come outside,
into the vagaries of weather,
to make sure you are extinct.

© F.J. Bergmann