What Rough Beast | Poem for November 9, 2017

Sylvia Byrne Pollack
What the Deaf Woman Doesn’t Want to Hear About

The deaf woman is distressed by the news of the day.
World events upset the deaf woman.
On the Day of Atonement the president blames hurricane victims for not
watching him on TV.
They have no power.
They are dying but that drama distracts, redirects focus from opulent gold
toilets to Americans wading in sewage, waiting for help.
They missed the subordinate clause that defines them as losers—house
gone, clothes gone, food gone, gasoline gone, health gone, jobs
gone, life going, going, gone.
The deaf woman sends cash to the Red Cross, sees red whenever she hears
another egregious statement from the White-wash House.
But what should the hurricane victims expect—they speak Spanish, live in
a tropical territory, an island in the middle of an ocean for christ’s
sake, not dangling penis-like from the continental United States.
Their golf course was a loser.


Sylvia Byrne Pollack’s work has appeared in Floating Bridge Review, Crab Creek Review, Clover, and Antiphon, among other journals. A recipient of the 2013 Mason’s Road Winter Literary Award and a finalist for the 2014 inaugural Russell Prize, she is currently writing a series of “Deaf Woman Poems” inspired by Marvin Bell’s “Dead Man Poems.”

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