Kingdom of Class

Laura McCullough

All I wanted was love, really, and thought that was 
what everyone wanted; what a fool I was, for love.
But really, that became security, and that attack, 
that day I saw those towers—
we all saw them—go down in a white flurry 
of hurricane dust in the city the world loves, neighborhoods 
plumed in billows, we just watched and then brought home 
our own dead. Next the neighbors all lost 
their jobs, and we started taking all those pay cuts 
and hoped our AC made it another season
and the roof another year. Love 
is a kind of capital, as is eros, and some days I still believe 
you can have your eros and eat it, too, but that Jersey rock star 
opened the soup kitchen in town, and a friend said, 
Why don’t we try it, you know, just because.
She’s out of work 
and her architect spouse hasn’t had a new account in months, 
and I know she’d like her family to have that meal. 

Sometimes, I just want to touch people, 
so I steal caresses—an arm, a sleeve.
I touch my screens, people all over the world 
a text away; they keep me 
from filling my pockets with old hard drives 
and walking into the ocean. 
When did we forget what we all wanted 
and settle for what we got? I’m trying not to 
go to sleep again. Instead, I’ll wake up in the tomorrow
of someone’s imagined future where they hoped their children 
would have it easier and better, richer and more wonderful 
than they had, better than anyone else ever had,
as if it is possible to protect anyone from anything at all.