Bio Note: I'm a writer and story performing living by the beach now. In addition to building sandcastles decorated with shells, I can occasionally be found with my children's old toys, although I think that putting tiny motors on lego toys would actually be beyond my skill set.
The Comfort of my Robot Petting Zoo
After “Do you seek the robot petting zoo to keep your loneliness a secret?” the last line of Checkered Mates, a poem by Tricia Knoll (published in VV in April 2020) and the title of her new chapbook.
Seeking solace from a world that seems to have abandoned me, I unpack my son’s smiling baby Lego animals, line them up and then, using craft sticks, construct makeshift pens, a petting zoo. Potted succulents, herbs provide the greenery. The zoo stretches out along my kitchen table where none but I sip morning coffee, afternoon tea. Mindful of the need to keep my plastic carnivores distanced from tasty herbivores, I widen spaces between enclosures. The creatures smile all the while, submitting tamely to my ministrations. I poke around, look for tiny motors that could animate my animalia so they could greet me with bleats and growls and move their heads up and down when I reach out to pet them. Yes, a robot petting zoo would pour out affection for me at the click of a remote. In any case, even unmotorized, they smile encouragements when I speak of sad or lonely things Their smiles are endless. They never turn away.
©2021 Joan Leotta
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