Skip to main content

poetry I Am Not a Robot

Not a robot, suggests poet Lisa Allen Ortiz. Prove it and she deftly does.

I am not a Robot

By Lisa Allen Ortiz


What language do

machines speak?

Yes. No. I woke to

a progress bar—

some lapse or absence.

Who made the world?

If you like this article, please sign up for Snapshot, Portside's daily summary.

(One summary e-mail a day, you can change anytime, and Portside is always free.)

We did, you said, and

I worked the problem of it

with my hands.

Inside the puzzle

of it, a captcha code

the prophets left, a wheel

rimmed with eyes.

Crosswalks, stoplights.

I checked everything

I knew. The human part

dragged itself.

Something clicked.

Baby, I like the way

you look at me.

What a time on earth — 

sunlight, shadow

and both of us inside

this one

encrypted afternoon.

Lisa Allen Ortiz’s second collection of poetry, Stem, won the 2022 Idaho Prize judged by Ilya Kaminsky. She lives in Santa Cruz, CA