BY: Anne Babson
When they crowned me and applauded, bowed in
The corridors, on the landings, when I
Nodded, gave them the back-handed wave, when
The parlors filled with obsequious smiles,
I thought they liked me. I did not see that
I had vanquished them, that the loudspeaker
Warned them in the barbarian language
To line the streets to welcome me under
That arch of triumph or executions
Would begin early. I did not think I
Played the Visigoth invading someone
Else’s eternal cityscape. Then I
Remembered my hymen ripping on silk,
Our wedding night consummated in the
Old general’s bedroom, a cannon ball
Hole gouging the floor of the room next door,
The ancient siege of the ancient city,
And I finally realized that this
Couldn’t be my country, not unless I
Declare that the fat turkey I have them
Roasting for us is my brother. We are
Not liberators. They hate me while I
Breathe their share of the local oxygen.
They hate me, but the cowards genuflect.
They keep fluffing the pillows, waiting for
Me to nod off. This is not for comfort.
The hospitable ones polishing forks
Stand waiting to smother me in my sleep.
Anne Babson’s poetry collection, The White Trash Pantheon (Vox Press, 2015), and her current chapbook, Poems Under Surveillance (Finishing Line Press, 2013), are currently available in independent bookstores and on Amazon. The opera, for which she wrote the libretto entitled “Lotus Lives,” was performed in Boston and Montreal in 2016. Her work has been anthologized in both England and the United States. Her poems have appeared in journals on five continents. She writes a blog about being a Yankee in the Deep South, The Carpetbagger’s Journal, that has thousands of readers. She was just included in Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse (Lost Horse Press, 2017).