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Dante Di Stefano

Early Decision

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“In a major college admissions scandal that laid bare the elaborate lengths some wealthy parents will go to get their children into competitive American universities, federal prosecutors charged 50 people on Tuesday in a brazen scheme to buy spots in the freshman classes at Yale, Stanford and other big-name schools.”
New York Times, March 12, 2019

imagine the rich: yachting

they say: America
so what if lead
seeps into the water supply
of wherever

they say: so what if the periodic table
of elements rearranges itself
at will

they say: Bohrium has an atomic weight
of twelve & we don’t look it up
we say: Bohrium is a good metal
& the poor happen to be the enemy

we say: I prefer Fiji water
they say: how quaint
we do too—in a pinch

imagine: 8 million tons of plastic a year
accumulating in the bellies
of a million submarine species

they say: god bless the plankton
in a baleen whale’s maw
we say: we are dying animals
on a doomed planet

they say: don’t be so dramatic
we say: we love our children
the poor say: no shit

we say: work harder
the rich say: put your oar
where your waterboarding is
ponying up
is a necessary evil
:they say

imagine: we are the redcoats
& the founding fathers
of so much sorrow

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after W.S. Merwin

we are the redcoats
& the founding fathers
of so much sorrow

there is a girl screaming
inside of every question
mark & it is our fault

we are loading banana clips
for the slaughter
& every netflix show

features a serial killer
who looks like a firstborn son
look how handsome he is

how proud we are
he looks so much like his father
we look so much like our fathers

those fathers they are turning
in their caskets like rotisserie chickens
we reject their americas & agains

we are all trying to figure it out
& doing so poorly
we are outraged & unhinged

we are waiting for the final report
to come out
& fix everything for us

meanwhile we are gunned down
in our driveways like mob bosses
in our mosques we are praying

in our churches we are lining
up our carbines
at the ends of the pews

why is a boy slashing his thighs
with a razorblade inside
of every exclamation point

the boy in my ninth period class writes
why can’t my chest be flatter
why won’t my parents accept me

I have no answers for him
we are waiting for the floodwaters to recede
& planes keep falling out of the sky

yet today I dressed my daughter
in a snuggle bunny onesie
she wears a ladybug barrette

& a red polka dot scarf
she is fourteen months
& eight teeth & wobbles

sweetness when she walks & she is safe
for now & once again I am afraid
for the later she will live in

what I mean to say little soul
little stray
little drifter
is we are blessed

by unaccountable
ordinary old love & still

we are waiting for the angel deranged
by the dying earth to feed us all
one final mouthful of sod

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