The Wasteland

by Anthony Khayat

Someone handed me
the key to the earth once.
In three days,
it was a smoldering wasteland.

I couldn’t be bothered
to keep it spinning—
used my power to try
to get Firefly back
on the air, instead.

Another bad decision
to pencil into the star chart
my body’s become.

This pound of fat
is all the cheeseburgers
I didn’t need.
This pound of fat
is when the couch
swallowed me up
for a day.
This pound of fat
is when the beer flowed freely
from sunset to sunrise.
So was this one
and that one
and that one.

Someone handed me
the key his house once.
In three days,
it was a smoldering wasteland.

I couldn’t be bothered
to keep his goldfish alive—
but the fish in his freezer
found a nice home in my belly.
People used to hand me
lots of things,
but I think they wanted
more for their investment
than a wasteland.

My father came from a wasteland
and promised to hand me
everything he never had.

And I got it.

Now it’s my turn
to promise my children
everything I already had.

Seems less noble
when you put it like that.

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