225: The Government Has Been Canceled
The Government Has Been Canceled
by Maya Catherine Popa
& my friend has just dissected a body in medical school,
of which we have not spoken, knowing there are privacies
we must pretend are still intact. The panda cam is off:
people are distressed
that someone will forget to feed the cub
unless the live-feed’s breathing in the toolbar. I spend the
dreaming a rebellion I could stage
and still show up to my body the next morning,
life the way it was promised
on sitcoms where everyone gets to be alive for 20 minutes
not worrying about the debt ceiling or health insurance.
My friend makes the first of many incisions
into that cold familiar otherness.
I turn to obituaries for proof
that people still matter to one another
in towns where stores bear the names of the deceased.
Today the Library of Congress is canceled
which makes it difficult to do my job,
checking dates of publications and answering questions
such as “are preachers and reverends interchangeable in
From this description, it is impossible to say what I do.
I go home burdened & amplified by knowledge,
live in the world this information refers to—
there is no better, other way to do this.
The government is canceled
but not the body: not the body furloughed
not the bodies waiting
for my friend to break them tenderly.
"The Government Has Been Canceled" by Maya Catherine Popa, from the forthcoming AMERICAN FAITH by Maya Catherine Popa, copyright © 2019 Sarabande Books. Used by permission of Sarabande Books.