The Princes hoist their flags above the Capitol dome, fist-bumps for all the children of Ozymandias, they inherit the crumbling empire, sandblasted from sea to shining sea, limestone and lithium, dust in all their mouths. The incoming tide laps the shores of an eastern seaboard retreating inland like an ill-fed army, one giant gated fiefdom of chipboard and hot glue, PVC-wrapped porch columns gone akimbo in the infernal heat, even the termites aren’t interested. We learned to build sets all summer in the theater; from the orchestra pit they were so convincing. Look now on our Potemkin Land of the Free, and despair! Everyone is wealthy on TV. There are rifles for all but no food in the kitchen, surprise! A car for every parking space and all the tanks are empty. A wrinkled lip, a sneer of cold command: Close the borders! Never mind. No one’s going anywhere, anyway. Cargo ships run aground in the land between the two Americas, and all the shelves at Target are empty, while high overhead the satellites collide and veer off into orbits no one thought to calculate. What are we to do? I read somewhere we could shoot them down with lasers. But how then will we stream the next season of The Gilded Age?