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“We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.”

—Donald Trump

 

America the lights along the highway

At night the streetlights look     just like the eyelets

At the edge of the tarp behind which Kim Jong Un

Himself detains the sun America

From you I drive beneath them seeking you

 

And in what other country     America

Could I within the country seek the country

And find it nowhere     but the citizens are

Told in the citizens the country fails

America I am becoming white

 

In the white light     in flashes     no one knows

And still for every inch my afro grows

I wait a minute longer at the Wal-

mart deli but I find     the real you there

Where what you see     will not be what you eat

 

Fireflies Dying

Between the outside of     and the inside of

My house between     at the thinnest and the thickest

Point both the point at which     the two are con-

centrated     at the window downstairs where

The window unit is     next both to the din-

ing table and the rest of the world     there     some-

where I can’t see but there I see black corps-

es clinging to the curtain     above the pas-

sage what must be a passage through     the fire-

flies crawl I think they couldn’t pass through flying

 

They pass through     to a world I can’t imag-

ine from a world I can’t imagine to

The world I make     from the world I dominate

By knowing it     is separate from myself

 

They are the mind of the outside     world they pass through

Thinking     and die in the idea they reach

In the morning in the dark the fireflies look

On their backs     on the floor     like and at first

I think they are     clocks blinking to be set

I know     in the outside world they blink to find

Mates     and in the outside world the intervals be-

tween blinks     are longer and the blinks themselves

Are faster they are answering and waiting

For answers     in the outside world from fire-

flies on the ground I know what’s happening

 

But I have looked and never seen     the fire-

flies on the ground     except I’ve seen the dying

Fireflies from the air on the floor     blinking like

Machines awaiting input     and at first

I think they are     both stuck and loose in time


Shane McCrae's most recent books are In the Language of My Captor (Wesleyan University Press, 2017) and The Animal Too Big to Kill (Persea Books, 2015). He has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, a fellowship from the NEA, and a Pushcart Prize, and he teaches at Columbia University.