Michael Ceraolo

An Anonymous Life and a Not-Well-Known Statistic

The poet’s rule is that no subject
for a historical dramatic monologue
can be a living person,
so I may
be a violation of that rule because
I may be alive in 2020
when this poem is being written
It is impossible to say for sure
because no one knows anything about me
other than the information that I am
what is represented by the poem’s title

The frontier did not end in 1890
as the Census Bureau said it did
when it declared the frontier closed
Nor did it end in 1920 when
another census showed that for the first time
more of the country’s population lived
in cities than lived in rural areas
the true end of the frontier was in 1956
when I got a job, maybe my first one,
and for the first time in the nation’s history
more people worked for someone else
than worked for themselves
my life and this fact should be better known,
though given the passage of time
the first is highly unlikely

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