POEM XLVIII: “TIME TRAVELER’S DILEMMA, PART II”

“If a man were called to fix the period in the history of
the world during which the condition of the human race was
most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation,
name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the
accession of Commodus.”

–Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. I

Sure, you could go back to ancient Rome,
but think of what you’d miss.

I’m not even talking about things like antibiotics
and the Geneva Convention.

Think of the little things.

The tiny intimacies that would be totally unknown
to someone born even a hundred years ago:

The cell phone’s light
glowing white through the nubbly pocket fabric
as you shimmy your jeans down over your thighs.

The orange sodium vapor lights on the freeway
hitting the exact same tone
as the sunrise beyond them.

Three cars, stopped at a light,
directionals blinking in perfect unison.

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