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 Rattle, Gulf Stream Magazine, The New Mexico Review, Alexandria Quarterly and other places. Besides poetry, he enjoys listening to classic rock music and performing stand up comedy.
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Image Credit: Walker Evans “Highway Corner, Reedsville, West Virginia” (1935) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.