Elegy for a Daughter of the State

How were you born, my lonely Julia?
Delivered from a surrogate’s young womb?
Anonymously fathered by a cypher
To fill a sterile couple’s nursery room?
Did gloved attendants offer you the bottle?
Did foreign nannies tend your early years?
Your loving parents hired out your childhood
So they could focus on their own careers.

As soon as you could walk, you went to daycare,
Learning, too young, the pattern of your days
Which was to be, until death or retirement,
Peregrination; dawn-to-dusk malaise.
Rhythm of drudgery and entertainment,
Assessments to ensure your fitting-in;
Programs to prepare you for a future
Free of failure, fear, sickness, or sin.

Alas, my dear, in school you learned too early
The innocence that you would never lose;
The voice of conscience stifled soon and quickly
Before your stunted heart could self-accuse.
You learned to blame your problems on the system,
The one that bought and manufactured you.
Your teachers said you were unique and special.
(That’s what they told the other children too.)

On subsidies and grants you went to college,
The apogee of your extended youth.
Work never hindered your pursuit of knowledge
Nor ever did the nagging thought of truth.
The boys and girls you shagged without distinction;
For many partners lay between your knees,
Yet prudently you chose to use protection
Against the deadly specter of disease.

You knew it was an easy operation:
A formless lump of protein, nothing more,
The accidental fault of recreation,
A minor setback to your winning score.
Your health insurance helped you pay the clinic,
And now you hardly think about that day,
The day your precious freedom was protected
From one who could have taken it away.

You always had the best that life could offer;
Good fortune followed you in your career.
Your swift and steady rise as Web Designer
Brought the promise of technology to bear.
The government helped your online business venture
With loans and grants to get you on your feet
And contracts for minority-owned business
(Without these programs, how could we compete?)

You put off family until convenient,
Separating motherhood and romance;
Through science you conceived the perfect baby,
A commodity too dear to leave to chance.
Like you, he got society’s best offer:
A welfare-system for the middle-class,
Drawing on the government’s deep coffers,
Yet sinking surely in a debt morass.

The tender ties that bind could never hold you:
Mother, father, sibling, friend, or mate;
But you could never slip the great dependence
That kept you thrall and client to the State.
From infancy it coddled you and kept you
Guiding each step until retirement;
And did the same for many people like you,
Full legions of the ninety-nine percent.

But when once more surrounded by caretakers
You lie at Healthcare’s antiseptic breast,
Grow cold, lose interest, fade into unknowing,
What will you carry with you to that rest,
Leaving no one to fondly grieve your parting,
Having created nothing that will last?
Ah, Julia, is this—is this the future?
For all that’s lovely—Love demands the past.

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THOMAS HOLGRAVE is a conservative but not necessarily a hipster. He is the publisher of The Hipster Conservative. He has never read a comic book he liked. He is an occasional theologian who has been known to become quite exercised over questions of Puritan doctrine and practice. Not much else is known about him.

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