A Robot’s History of Art

We still don’t know the significance
of their two-dimensional acts. We all know

when Panderob manufactured his greatest work,
the 4th Street silicone shower, its utility was seamless;

the copper pipes gently arced over the traditional
street paved in gold, a perfectly balanced web

of light and shadow spraying the finest-grade lubricant
over our dry hinges as we rolled to the plants

on Formosa Avenue. Their art served other purposes,
unclassified. And now, some collectors treasure

renderings of piles of shoes, broken, hairless dolls
or the soup can repetitions, but none know why

they were formed. Maybe a visual inventory
was needed to replace the time spent motionless

at night. Maybe they had no permanent memory.
Their soft language was circular, random,

like the logic-loop infection that shut unit six down.
This was their peculiar fate. Nothing existed

except by how other things described it:
the sun, a chariot racing across the sky,

marking the hours; the hours, a stream of sand
pooling in a greening metal bowl, emptied when filled.

—Lanette Cadle