in the future by Emily Gustafson

they see
a sign on the side of a long grey road
IF YOU ARE READING THIS
if the paper has not melted to ash in the wind
THEN IT IS NOT TOO LATE
the world has not crumbled entire!
Your Country needs you
Your Country needs your women
send your girls east
send them
We will take them.
testing has proven
that they require less food than men
do not complain
and
(with the radiation-borne infertility run rampant)
they are no longer necessary for
breeding purposes
but The City can give a girl new
PURPOSE!
We will take her.
is your girl another
mouth to feed?
her father shifts
does she
take up precious space
a rock grinds beneath his boot.
in your haz-tent?
then The City will take her.
We are in need
of strong
able-bodied
cannon fodder
girls
and We will pay for it
so send Us your girls
send them
send them east to The City
The City
That great grey pit
sinking slowly, gelatinous,
malignant under its own heaving weight
into the earth’s
crust.
—papa—
he pivots on his boot
hides his eyes under
his hat.
when she looks down
the rock is ground
to dust.