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Monday, December 18, 2017


by William Aarnes

“I Have a List of Replacements for the CDC’s 7 Banned Words” —Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, December 15, 2017

The first weekend after the decree
that public norms and preferences
should determine what we know,
my wife and I jokingly wondered
what we should call
the life she’d been carrying
(the sonogram doesn’t show
much of anything).

That Sunday my gleeful parents
skyped to ask us to fly down
to celebrate how the country
was returning to its senses.
They were overjoyed to think
that those unwarranted Social Security
deposits could finally stop
(the wealth that Mom inherited
is just the coolest thing).

By that Wednesday I’d concluded
that my—what would be the right word?—
changeling research assistant  
had stopped coming in to work
(not that I minded,
since any fool could see
that the data we’d been collecting
on the social causes of indigence
didn’t prove a thing).

Now, on the subway, on the streets,
in the building corridors,
on TV, at the gym,
at the construction sites,
in all the classrooms,
even in the military,
everybody’s become a white heterosexual
(thank goodness my DNA test
and particularly my father’s
don’t mean a thing).

William Aarnes lives in South Carolina.