Canto XLVI

I wonder if I was to take the hand
of Virgil in these knowing, secular times,
what infernal and woebegotten lands

would we descend to? Where would we find
the hopeless souls that seek their story’s telling,
now hell is just a figment of the mind?

Perhaps he’d guide me through the cracked and failing
infrastructures of this rich island,
the unemployment lines, the jails all filling

with those who left a month ago, old friends
will greet them like it’s a college reunion,
academies in how to reoffend.

And then the next circle, off to Taiwan
to where this touchscreen’s components were made,
assembled in the cleanest of conditions

so that the workers don’t contaminate
the circuits on their endless standing shifts.
Outside the yellow suicide nets sway.

And then to Congo, where bloody conflict
keeps the market price down on coltan
that keeps those wires from filling up the office.

And further on, to lands of drought and famine,
to those whose bodies consume their own stores,
a plane’s flight from our unconsumed food mountains.

None of them spoke, no laments set to verse,
and yet each time I cleared my throat to ask
if this place is the home of Lucifer,

they clutched their throats, rolled up their eyes and laughed.


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