Living in the Promise of the Future
I was a futurist, imagining utopian life ahead. Now here I am, I’m halfway dead. I thought scientists would defeat death. Yet here I am, ripping bread with my teeth. In forty years, we won’t need teeth. I’ll be eighty then, close to death. I’ll hate what evades me then as I hate it now.
Edward Salem is a recipient of the 2022 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize and was chosen by Ottessa Moshfegh as the winner of BOMB Magazine’s 2021 Fiction Contest. He was selected by Louise Glück as a finalist for the 2021 Bergman Prize. His writing has been published or is forthcoming in Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Columbia Review, and Best Debut Short Stories (Catapult), among others. His artwork has been exhibited at the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center in Ramallah, The Hangar in Beirut, and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid.
This poem is part of our ongoing series exploring isolation, exile, and “The Everyday Pandemic.” Throughout this series it is our hope to capture the daily toll of life through the pandemic from the perspective of writers and artists who are familiar with the experience of isolation or exile. With this in mind we’ve collected stories, poems, nonfiction essays, and digital art from writers and artists from all walks of life and from all around the globe.