“The Most Fatally Fascinating Thing in America”*

“The stark, unutterable pity,
To be dead, and never again behold my city.”
—James Weldon Johnson, from “My City”

What if this is how it’s going to be—
atmospheric screen frozen,
no rebooting. Only one season left,
all natural warmth from the sun

a myth
our ancestors handed us
on a microwavable platter. The raw
movement dies from lack

of passion.
No more fire
in the belly, no more burning
desire to create friction—

to get next to you. This table wobbles.
That type set to tell on those paintings
has shrunk

to a grunt. I’ve lost
the secret code to maintain
an allusion. This uncoordination
has nothing to do with my left hand.

* James Weldon Johnson, from The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.