Donal Mahoney


America In 4013


Is that lava or simply mud
dripping from the cheeks
of this old woman asking me
why this library has no books.
I ask her where she's been
for the last 2000 years.
Under a rock? In some cave?
After all, the year is 4013

and now the only book extant
is the Bible and the only copy
of the Bible is in Rome where
a few monks older than she is
sit in catacombs all day
copying pages of it

onto yellow foolscap, hoping
to create another Bible
no one will read, as was the case,
I'm told, when dusty Bibles
were in almost every home
and computers were a luxury.

But then I soften up because
I can see this woman was born
without a cell phone in her ear.
I tell her if she wants to read
something wonderful online,
as soon as a computer comes free

I'll call her even though she has
no cell phone in her ear.
First, however, she must show
a number, not a name,
tattooed above her navel,
the only form of identification
accepted in America in 4013.

Submitted: Thursday, July 25, 2013
Edited: Thursday, July 25, 2013
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