Epilogue for the 21st Century
By Nancy Mercado

And the demon took possession of the nation
Leading it by the nose in circles
Engaging in topsy-turvy talk
Weaving and unstitching gnarls of lies
Dangling morsels of doubletalk and innuendos
And the nation jumped
In attempts to capture those morsels
If only for a second
To distill them into reality
To identify them as black or white
But the demon
kept changing the meaning of all things
Kept morphing his empty shell
Of broken bits of shinny chards
Of wickedness enshrined in glassy vials
And the nation contorting and heaving
Drowned in a melee of arguments
And weapons
And hurricanes
And earthquakes
And wildfires
And special reports
On the evening news
While the demon’s henchmen
Went out into the world
And defiled the rivers
Defiled the women
Defiled the poor
Defiled all the good creatures of the earth
They were hell-bent
Maniacal in their derangement

They were the leaders of the free world.

Nancy Mercado is the recipient of the American Book Award for Lifetime Achievement presented by the Before Columbus Foundation. She was recently named one of 200 living individuals who best embody the work and spirit of Frederick Douglass by the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives and the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. She is the editor of the Nuyorican Women Writers Anthology published in Voices e/Magazine, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College-CUNY; an online literary journal. A guest curator for the Museum of American Poetics, Mercado is also assistant editor and board member of Eco-Poetry.Org; a website dedicated to addressing the issue of climate crises. Featured on National Public Radio’s The Talk of the Nation, and a PBS NewsHour Special, America Remembers 9/11, Mercado has authored: It Concerns the Madness  (a poetry collection), Las Tres Hermanas (a children’s coloring book), and is the editor of if the world were mine (a young adult anthology).