Y2K

by Esteban Rodríguez

Because every computer would die,
and software would become a relic
overnight, your father packed a survival kit,
bought extra water, canned food,
cartridges for a shotgun he feared
he’d have to use, warning of asesinos,
ladrones, of a desperation that would lead us
to do things we thought we’d never do.
And so we waited, and instead of going outside,
starting a barbecue, watching the fireworks
light up the neighborhood, we huddled
in the living room, pretended it was a basement,
pretended what we were seeing on TV
wasn’t real, that the crowd in Times Square –
never mind Australia or New Zealand –
was, according to your father, prerecorded,
propaganda, paid for by the government
to hide the truth, which, as the night carried on,
you were unsure about, confused as to what
was really true. And maybe you made all this up,
maybe there was no kit, no sense of anxiety,
paranoia, that that evening your father
was just tired, and so was your mother,
and because they’d been on their feet all day,
they wanted, even as the century was about to end,
to sit, rest, to believe that as they watched
the celebrations, they were still a part of them,
that they were there to witness the world
stay exactly the same.

 

Esteban Rodríguez is the author of Dusk & Dust, forthcoming from Hub City Press (September 2019). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Puerto del Sol, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. He lives with his family and teaches in Austin, Texas.

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