America

America, I would like to get closer to you, but
you are the unconscious patient; one hundred interns
bicker this morning above your bed. Yesterday,
I read for no reason an essay written a decade ago
on game theory & economics. Apparently, the problem
with accurate predictions is that sometimes people
simply don’t make the rational choice. Illness & sleep
are weary metaphors. The poor, who are now homeless,
displaced by the storm, rest their heads tonight
in luxury beachfront hotel rooms. All I want,
one woman says, is my old kitchen where I could cook
a hot meal for my kids. Soon a young man will walk
into a classroom of six-year olds & empty his gun.
The problem with life is that everyone who dies
really dies. In Belgium, twin brothers petition
to be euthanized. Born deaf, they are losing their vision.
Trained as shoemakers, they have spent every day
side by side. Another sibling says they have battled pain
all of their lives. They say they cannot imagine
being able to know one another only by touch.
When my brother was failing, his wife roamed the wing
wild eyed & inconsolable. It only looks like a coma,
she whispered when she thought no one could hear.
His cells are regenerating. Tomorrow he’ll open his eyes
and be fine. On the day he died, a doctor wanted
to perform a long operation that would not have saved him—
to install a system of shunts to drain the fluid collecting
around his heart. My brother had left papers indicating
I should be the decider. All of my options were morally
wrong. He died before anything more could happen.
America, that is all I remember. I have no idea what I said.