Parachuting Bush into Baghdad
by R. Zahniser

In the end it was all we could do.
promises of respect for autonomy
were all overshadowed
by the number
of dead.
They lined the streets,
the bazaars,
the coffee shops.
We dropped him
from 10,000 feet
(his parachute opened automatically,
we could not depend on him to
get even the simple pull of a cord right).

We thought the mobs
would tear him to pieces,
but that is not what happened.
They brought photos,
baby cribs,
an unending stream of relics,
and food:
Ali loved this!
My cousins made fava beans
with lemon!
Can you imagine?

He ate the favorite meals
of the dead.
And while he was eating
they would ask him:

He did not answer.

He was surrounded by mobs of people
and never touched.                                    

I would like to say
that he found wisdom there
among the mourning
and the dead
but it was not in him.
He was charming,
he learned how to address
the last member of a family
bombed out of existence
or shot on a raid or
roadside crossing
he never showed more
than the facile,
sociopathic charm
that mass murderers cultivate
to lure their victims.

The Iraqis
saw he was damaged
and allowed him to wander
their labyrinth streets
  eating the food of the dead,
  sleeping in the beds of the dead
more at home with the dead
than the living
he ate himself
with a bullet.

He was not mourned.

Copyright © 2007 - R. Zahniser
Published: 11/15/07   ·  Author's Page   ·  Next Poem