What Rough Beast | Poem for November 13, 2017

José Sotolongo
The Country and The Country

—After China Miéville

We occupy the same land, the one
We tend to like to be proud of, tell
Ourselves the best country on earth
Our lies so ingrained don’t make us blush
We lack shame and regret in
Our shortcomings or no not that, not flaws
We have fatal lacunae like a heart so wounded
Our best surgeon flounders like a fish
We hook and watch die an epileptic death
Our guns we must have though should not
We trample dark skin that we are
Our women not sovereign
We know is birthright undermined
Our hands poised at the ballot
Our choices too quiet and still like that fish.


José Sotolongo’s poetry has appeared in The Peacock Journal as well as in that magazine’s print anthology. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Literary Nest, Atticus Review, Opossum, and other journals. He is a physician and lives on an old goat farm in the Catskill Mountains with his husband.

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