By Nathan Brown — For Jody Karr

Friday, December 4

Due to an unprecedented number

of calls, we are all still waiting

for a representative, sitting

in a cubicle, somewhere

in the poorly-lit offices

of the Year of 2020

to answer the phone.

And it’s December, folks.

For concerns about COVID-19,

please press 1

For worries about when the movers

are going to arrive at the White House

please press 2

For problems with political partisanship,

you can press 3,

but don’t expect change.

For wishes that the doubters will wise up,

mask up, and do what’s best for others,

go ahead and press 4,

if you think it will help.

For questions about the American

medical system, health insurance,

or lack of resources and support

for its workers, or how to fix it,

5 connects the caller to

a recorded message

from Congress.

For fears about the planet,

plants, animals, endangered

species, climate, food, water,

please press 6…

and keep pressing it.

do not give up.

For when it will be

safe to go outside again

and try to rebuild our lives,

press 7…or 8…or 9…

nobody really knows.

And please do not bother

With zero. It goes nowhere.

To speak to a representative,

please hold on.

really…

Hang in there…

with everything you’ve got…

And the force will be with you, soon.

— Nathan Brown is Poet Laurette of Oklahoma. This poem can be found in his book, In the Day of Our Resilience, Mezcalita Press, 2021 and is printed here with his permission.

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