Contest (Draft 1)

I stood on stage
behind a screen
with a robot

Each of us
answered questions,
made conversation with a panel

It was like a dating show, and
each woman described
what she loved to do
who she loved and would love

The robot knew
for every tree, for every flower
the appropriate fragrance of conversation

Yes, I see your point, it said;
Isn’t the sunrise beautiful, and
I cry every morning when a bird dies.
The robot knew how to be
charming in every way
just like a psychopath:
well rehearsed
empathy simulation.

From behind the screen
I felt their souls, but
I couldn’t articulate my feelings
before the buzzer ended my speech

At the end of the performance,
the panel was asked:
which one of the two
is human

I was deemed not human.