Exposition of a Modern Time

I’ve read this book.  
I can’t remember who wrote it.
King? Atwood? Orwell?  
If the three of them could 
have a love child
(surely possible in
this narrative),
and if that love child
wrote a book,
this would be it. 

A dystopian future
complete with a virus,
an insurrection, 
fearless mobs, 
cages of children,
knees on necks,
wildfires,
deaths,
conspiracy theories behind each,
families divided
like the blue and the grey.

I lived 55 years in a dormant
volcano, mistaking quiet for death. 
What needs to be sacrificed to
the gods to put them back
to sleep? Whom should we throw
from the ridge?

We don’t even talk about the
“new normal” anymore.  
It’s passé.
We make adjustments
that may be permanent
Who knows? 
We hang on  
to shards of hope. 
A vaccine. 
An inauguration. 
A miracle. 
Garden hoses 
aimed at rapids
of lava.

Each climax, the 
narrative arcs up
again. Chapter
after chapter of 
rising action, new
inciting incidents, still 
more characters. 
Epic. 
Sweeping. 
Homeric. 
Absurdist. 

I need John to smoke a doobie
and bring the revelations.
I need denouement. 
I need the movie rights sold
and that film to stay in the can. 
I need a final chapter, 
resolution, 
loose ends tied up
in neat little bows.  

They lived 
happily ever after.  

That was the
ending they promised
us in the seventies.
In the middle-class seventies.
In the white middle-class seventies. 
Wars and epidemics and despots
lived only in history books and 
countries with jungles.  
They never told us we 
were children living 
on the blank page
between chapters.

I’ve read this book, 
but I’m only now living
this story. 
I don’t recommend it
right before 
bedtime. 



© 2021 Deborah E. Moore, All Rights Reserved

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