Weekly Poem: ‘Dispatch From the Future’

BY Tom LeGro  August 13, 2012 at 10:38 AM EDT

By Leigh Stein

I am wearing my librarian costume.
Yes, I saved it from the fires.

In the future, when we say antiquity, we mean
state fairs and musicals. We mean affairs

of state, amusement. You left me a message
to say you were sad but you understood
which state I was coming from and I’m wondering

now which state you meant. West of us?
Or did you mean a state of mind?

I don’t have states of mind, I only have sweater sets.

I get dressed up and then I undress. I’d show you,
but this is a dispatch, I’m the dispatcher.

The calls come into my call center and
it’s my job to say, What’s the future

of your emergency?

Our new state flag is an aurochs,
not to celebrate extinction, but

to celebrate the wild part of us that died
in 1627. They moved her skull to Stockholm.

I wear my state flag like a dress.

leigh_stein_video_small.jpgLeigh Stein is the author of the book of poems “Dispatch from the Future” (Melville Books, 2012), one of Publishers Weekly’s “Best Summer Books of 2012,” and the novel “The Fallback Plan” (Melville Books, 2012).