“We Might Have Existed” By Brian Chander Wiora



We Might Have Existed

It’s the future, where America falls
into book after book, each page laced
with a blue truth, like bubbles in an aquarium. 
The seahorses galloping past their hooves. 

When the pilgrims arrived, some had been here
before. From this, a whole country can be discovered. 
You need the sun to have rivers of sunlight. 
You need a river to have Columbus.

In the summer when I turned seventy-five, 
I bought ten thousand shovels, combing ten thousand 
heads of hair, in the parlor with a line out the door. 
Let me say: it was not a museum but a room

with every outfit we wore in that American time. 
How the red dress fell all night. How often 
did I fly to California, just to watch the birds 
eating eggs off my plate, a strange reincarnation. 

Touring the earth’s edge, I notice a nickel 
rolling over the horizon, Jefferson’s face facing 
the mountains in the south. Geography: 
as in the place where toy fish flap plastic fins,

those feral machines. The Americans are watching 
television again. We watch because the television 
is yellow. We watch because we know no 
good songs. The music happens, but not enough

for the noise to become more than an echo, 
the way a shadow falls behind us and is soon forgotten
by everyone but the lightbulbs, just Tesla
between Edison and a fetish for light. 

What happens in the aftermath of roses, America?
You are infamous for your boredom now. Someone there 
is a father, if not fatherhood. Someone else is desperate. 
And I am like the world. I can close my eyes, and spin.


About the Author: Brian Chander Wiora teaches poetry at Columbia University, where he is an MFA candidate. His poems have appeared in RattleGulf Stream MagazineThe New Mexico ReviewAlexandria Quarterly and other places. Besides poetry, he enjoys listening to classic rock music and performing stand up comedy.


More by Brian Chander Wiora:

“The Oysters”


Image Credit: Walker Evans “Highway Corner, Reedsville, West Virginia” (1935) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

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