Unit 8 / Series 53 has died (and, oh, the difference to me)
He talked too much, or so they claimed,
the reason why they let him go.
I don’t think so.
We’d chat each day, it’s true.
The usual subjects. Weather, sport,
the pros and cons of civil rights for robots.
But only for a while.
In a meeting, however, they agreed
I’d be more productive if he left.
I was let off with a verbal warning.
His replacement has been put on Quiet Mode,
forbidden to speak
when side-by-side with humans.
I miss the original. His smile.
The soft radio-interference in his voice
as he said his last goodbyes.
He told me he looked forward
to this unexpected break,
a chance to get some fat on his bones.
I read in the old days we’d be given
time for something called a Funeral.
I tell my new co-worker but she’s programmed not to listen.
Tomorrow, they’ll be testing me for Feelings.
If they find some I’ll be in for further trouble.
As a result of winning the Geoff Stevens Memorial Award, McGrane’s first collection Elastic Man was published with Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2018. A second collection British People in Hot Weather is due with Indigo in 2021. He is the co-founder of the Forest Poets poetry collective in Walthamstow and formerly The Poetry Society Membership Manager 2006 to 2020.