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Poems

JanPoWriMo 29

The running joke 
Around these parts is saying
Remember
Followed by the most
Used to be quotidian thing
With a wistful ruefulness
As if to say we took
These things for granted then
Sometimes even avoided them
In no uncertain terms
For their sheer ubiquitous ambiance
And post millennial irony
As in the facetious desire
To join the party but it would mean
Putting on pants
Now tinged with hopeful regret
We may never see these things
Quite the same way again
Even as their prevalence
Extends beyond what we thought
Would be the novelty
Remember crowds
Remember going to the theatre
Remember standing that close together
Remember shopping
Remember doing things
Remember restaurants
Remember extrajudicial executions by police
Not captured on cell phone video
Remember random supermarket interactions
Remember toilet paper
Remember when one political party
Was not normalizing insurrectionist violence
Remember not staring blankly into the middle distance
Remember a shared set of facts
Remember the beforetimes
Remember when we thought there would be an after
Remember vaguely innocuous bureaucratic dysfunction
That did not result in thousands of unnecessary lives lost
Remember your family
And that’s it
That’s the joke
It’s not funny anymore

By Joshua Keiter

reader, writer, actor, singer, teacher