You’ve never seen a doomsday like it
He opens the car door for two sweat-and-dirt sculpted
children with ten cent hope—their earth-scent rising
as they root through decades of leftovers, synthetic dreams
once resting on every child’s lips: Smurfs, Garfield, He-Man.
My life at bargain prices, in stasis, this millennial cusp.
An askew Rockwell: the boy and girl treasure hunting
as the July sun makes toffee of the driveway, holds itself
multiplied in each cell of each husk of the rows of green corn
along the road from here to the village.
He asks where I’m going.
London, I say, the one in England, not Ohio. His face
doesn’t darken or cloud the way they say faces do;
his eyes stay the same blue when he says I am right
to get out. Either get away or load your gun. This year
2000 isn’t going to be pretty. These cornfields will burn.
Houses will be searched, he says, and I’ll be dragged away
like the rest. And he’s going to get his wife and kids
and keep driving. But you get on that plane,
he says, don’t come back—
my life spread out on folding tables between us,
the man laying down five American dollars for pieces
of my childhood; five American dollars
I will change to pounds sterling, while they’re
still worth something, while we have the choice.