She found him in a scrapyard, beneath some sheets of tin.
Dragged him out by one bent leg to see what shape he’s in.
Propped upright to catch the sun, to feed his solar cells,
“Fifty bucks,” she offered, “Looks as though he’s been through hell.”
“Army surplus,” Junkyard Girl takes aim and gives a kick,
“Fifty bucks? No warranty, not sure if he still ticks,
Why you want this broken thing? I doubt he’s of much use.
Made yourself a project — this one’s seen lots of abuse.”
Buyer nods, reaches a hand to touch the clockwork soldier.
“Always wanted one of these, prefer them when they’re older.
I’ll smooth his dents, cut out his rust, repair his worn-out circuits.
Lick of paint, and with some luck I think he may be perfect.”
Junkyard Girl just shrugs and says, “I’ll gladly take your money.
Just don’t come back complainin’ when he starts to act all funny.”
The buyer smiles, counts out the bills and nods, “Our deal is done,’
A reconditioned man is so much cheaper than a new one.”
Junkyard Girl loads him onto the buyer’s utility,
“Fancy truck,” she notes, then summons up temerity;
“Why you want a man when all our need for men is gone?
Wiped them from the face of Earth for all their bad deeds done.
No more wars, and no more rape; no patriarchalism.
No more need for men except one tiny drop of jism.
Enough to sustain life on Earth for all eternity.
What you need a man for, when we’ve got all that we need?”
The buyer turns, a haunted look, as if unsure what to say.
“My mother cried the day the Sisters led my dad away.
I know it marks me out, a sex-traitor, this heresy
But I want a man beside me when it’s my turn to conceive.”
Junkyard Girl says slowly, so the buyer understands,
“You want a clockwork soldier with you, just to hold your hand?
He’s not the father of your child, so why the false connection?
He wasn’t there when seed met egg at moment of conception.”
Buyer gets into her truck, and slams the door shut hard
“Thank you for the lecture Girl, now go back to your yard.
“Our babes are born from ooze in lubed-up tubes in plastic gloves;
Who says a man of steel cannot be taught a father’s love?”
Junkyard Girl walks through her stockpiled heaps of broken men
Never really looked one in the eye until just then.
Propped up for the setting sun, she blushes when he smiles;
“May not need you every day, could use you for awhile.”
Erik Kaisson, 2017