What Rough Beast | Poem for September 17, 2017

Liz Ahl
Evangelical Pastors Lay Hands On Donald Trump In The Oval Office, July 12, 2017

In January, I thought he’d burst into flames
when he touched that Bible for the oath.
It’s summer now, and still he has no shame

that I can see. On Twitter he exclaims
and bullies and sputters daily untruth.
In January, I thought I’d burst into flames

when he started playing odd and ominous games
claiming and denying fraud at the voting booths.
It’s summer now; he still says he was framed.

His thin skin can’t withstand a mocking meme,
but still he’s drawn, an angry, pointless moth,
impervious to the Internet’s bright flames.

And add to this a vision, an absurd dream:
a laying on of hands by “men of the cloth.”
It’s summer now, and still they have no shame.

They do the devil’s work in Jesus’ name.
They feed and stoke a dark, malignant growth.
In January, I swore he’d burst into flames.
It’s summer now, and still he has no shame.


Liz Ahl is the author of Home Economics (Seven Kitchens Press, 2016); Talking About the Weather (Seven Kitchens, 2012, “Summer Kitchen” series); Luck (Pecan Grove, 2010), winner of the New Hampshire Literary Awards “Reader’s Choice” in Poetry Award in 2011; and A Thirst That’s Partly Mine, winner of the 2008 Slapering Hol Press chapbook contest. Her poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Able Muse, Measure, Cutthroat, and Rappahannock Review. Liz has been awarded residencies at Jentel, Playa, The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and The Vermont Studio Center. She lives in New Hampshire.

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