M. W. DAVIS
When the President appeared on TV
she stood, purportedly out of respect;
but a handful of onlookers could see
the flash of something malicious in her
eyes—pride, an unnerving loyalism.
The squeaky new anthem peeled from speakers,
hidden by posters, embroiled in some
polyester bunting wrapped on the rail.
The podium’s just for decoration;
it’s broadcast live from somewhere deep in the
capital. He won’t show up in person
in this neighbourhood—her own, as it were.
Nor has she ever been any different.
When General What’s-his-name was shot, she
called her mother crying, quite confident
anarchists would be taking the streets soon.
When the junta was declared last April
she sang at the inauguration—sang
the same tune that, sixteen months and several
parades later, hasn’t been broken in.
That night she told the President it’d been
the happiest day of her life, better
than ‘96’s Eugene Onegin
in Boston, her first standing ovation.
You couldn’t understand it; just a sort
of prejudice, or an intuition.
Anyway, she’s their last—and best—resort:
if no one else, the angel sings along.
M. W. DAVIS is Poetry Editor of the Quarterly Review