Make America great again. Donald Trump
campaigning like Julius Caesar to make the
Roman Empire great again, eagle banner
waving overhead a talisman of extinction.
Buy my red bill cap and I’ll crown you with
the bays, my dear voters—democracy, putting
a new roof on a crumbling foundation.
Jared Diamond would have choice words for you,
POTUS, about flirting with falling, but words are
just that. No one trusts their sources anymore,
because all the writing on the walls is fake and filled
with lead, like the water in Flint, Michigan, like
the thickened blood of its children, retarding growth
and scrambling the cerebral cortex and hippocampus.
Debase the currency until it dawns on all
that gold is not what we should have been
hoarding—for when the stock market crashes,
when the government collapses from within—
but rather seeds and mason jars full of pickles.
Forget Non-GMO-Verified USDA Organic white
privilege. Should we have been digging holes
in the desert, like Stanley Yelnats, to hide out in
with caches of Sploosh and tequila, waiting for
Jesus to return from the East?
There are curses older than man that we
have been tasked to break, but we have lost
our language, our deep grammar and mother
tongue with which to speak the right invocation—
some words are not translatable from one language
to another, and if they were, they would only
alter the consciousness of the learner, causing
a psychotic break. And then where would we
be? In a field of black telephones ringing,
with Emily Pettit, Sartre, and Wittgenstein,
assessing a problem?
We were all indigenous once—once we were all
Pocahontas or Geronimo, colonized and penetrated
and left with our language amputated, removed
like an organ harvested from our bodies and sold
on the black market, the dark web. Now we are
sitting on our brittle bridges in middle America,
in the middle of our eroding Highway 66, with a
Ouija board, trying to contact the spirit world
because we don’t remember how to pronounce
God’s true name. We are asking if we are not alone,
if someone is with us, inviting the demonic. We are
asking to become possessed.
Kate Burnham is a recent MFA graduate of Arcadia University’s Creative Writing Program. She currently lives in Florida with her horticulturist partner and their three-year-old son and two dogs.