Vendetta, May 2006

Tim Seibles

My thoughts are murder to the State
and involuntarily go plotting against her.
Henry David Thoreau

As if leaving
it behind would
have me lost
in this place, as if

keeping it
could somehow
save me from the
parade of knives,

I have held
my rage on a short
leash like a good,
mad dog whose bright

teeth could keep
the faces of our enemies
well lit. Is it

wrong to hate
the leaders? Am I wrong
to hate their silk
ties and their

secret economies?
Am I wrong? Am I?
Look how they

work the stage
like cool comedians,
ribbing the nations this
way, then that—

gaff after giggle
filling the auditoriums
with the empty
skulls. Maybe this

is the moment
to abandon metaphor:
shouldn’t somebody
make them

suffer: now that
war is easy money,
won’t the reasons
keep coming to see

how well
people die?

I guess this
is the world
I was born

into: moonlight,
sunshine—kind city

of my mother’s lap, my
father tossing me

up and catching me—

I remember
the first time I saw

autumn outside
my window: the colors

came with the smell
of burning

leaves and starving
in our basement,

the crickets
trying to stave off

the chill, still working
their little whistles
after dark.

I think, even
then, I knew a season
would come
for us: the wind

tilting slowly, but
suddenly everyone
is under the cold

still holding on
to their wallets
as the government

quietly turns and day
after day, the terrible stories

cover everything.

Tim Seibles is the author of several books of poems including Hurdy-Gurdy, Hammerlock, and, most recently, Buffalo Head Solos. He is a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus and teaches in Old Dominion University’s English department and MFA in writing program. Melissa Tuckey is the poetry editor for FPIF and a board member of Split This Rock.