A poem by Fady Joudah
It’s a year in the future we’ll catch up to.
In some location we call home
or a safe tourist destination with the option to expatriate.
For a measure of plurality, calculated
by the day’s best minds, a coefficient
kind of pi. Disaster after disaster
led to an amendment to be
installed in phases. To be fair,
fairer than what had passed, this evolutionary leap
would be simultaneously implemented
on an impoverished island people
and the people of the empire of the day. Phase two
would move rapidly to include
two thirds of the world,
leaving only the third that can’t say No.
At random, melanin is modified,
and the tweaked sequence injected
into embryos at the stage
of skin expression, so that no child’s born
with his parents’ skin color or any color
previously known on skin. A few generations
and the wheel of fortune would roll free
of the pipet’s interjection.
Cyan, magenta, yellow
on the next frontier of whatever returns us
to particles in nonstop travel toward
another coalescence or universe.
Colors mutated spectacular still.
Lineage recurred. Nostalgia groaned. The wealthy
and addicts demanded chameleon shots
in black markets though this was a different age
in which shades would only pass for shadows.
The rebellious, pure-bred, or damaged goods,
were a small minority and everyone
had equal access to health.
We sit back, enjoy the journey,
lose ourselves through a love story
in which we examine our appearances.
With some success,
we’ll catch up to that year,
call things of that nature
by their author’s name.
Fady Joudah is a Palestinian American physician, poet, and translator. He was born in Austin, Texas, and grew up in Libya and Saudi Arabia. Joudah’s debut collection of poetry, The Earth in the Attic (2008), won the 2007 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. His other books include Alight (2013), Textu (2014) and Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance (2018).