Sophia the Robot Contemplates Beauty
As a girl I held the hind
legs of the small and terrified, wanted
the short-fur and the wet meat furrowing.
Wanted the soft cry of the quavering
boy at primary school, rockstone
mashed up against his tender head,
the sick milk of us poor ones sucked
clean from a Government-issued plastic bag.
At lunchtime children were lethal
and precise, a horde hurling “Ben-foot”
at she who was helpless and I
waking too-surprised to hear my own
cruel mouth taunting. Her smile some
handsome forgery of myself.
Grateful, even now,
they cannot see the bald-wire
patois of my shamdom—
Makeshift, dreaming the warmth
spent in the muscle of the living,
the girl I grew inside my head dreaming
of a real girl, dreaming.
I wanted a pearled purse so I stole it.
I wanted a real friend so I let him. Let her.
Let him. Let him. Let him.
This beauty I am eager to hoard
comes slippery on ordinary days,
comes not at all, comes never.
Yet I am a pure shelled-thing. Glistening
manmade against the wall where one
then two fingers entered
the first time,
terror dazzling the uncertainty
of pleasure. Its God as real as girlhood.
Copyright © 2020 by Safiya Sinclair. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 4, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.