Turns out – dad was a robot
I was so shaken I was shot
I should’ve known, though
when I saw him licking the dynamo
on the front wheel of his Pashley
How he spent most of every Saturday
buffing his be’cardigan’d chassis
with duraglit and a chamois
till it sparkled

It really shouldn’t have been news
there were plenty of clues
in retrospect
like the way he collected
fridge magnets
his clumsiness with ceramics
the crackle in the air
when he sat in his chair
slicking his single aerial of hair
sideways across his pate
his tie unnaturally straight
the clunk of his slippers
the clackety clack of his clippers
the way he ate his boiled egg dippers
scanning the kitchen
for anything else we might fetch him

I had it confirmed years later
when I ran into his maker
at a conference for the movers & shakers
of the domestic robot business
‘As god is my witness’
she said, unnecessarily dramatic
a bit too emphatic
for my taste –
but I didn’t want to waste
the opportunity –
‘Yes! Your dad was well respected in the robot community
His software was suspect and his batteries were crap
But we recouped costs when we sold him for scrap’


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