Between Korea and Vietnam,
it was my favorite dime-store gag.
The soily smell thrilled me sick.

A cardboard coin, a smudged visage
of some leader’s solemn profile,
a Lincoln, Ike, or FDR.

I snap a match against my nail
and kiss our leader’s face with it
then watch it flare, smoke, and stink:

it blooms a pleated, pinkie-sized
squirming Chinese New Year grub:
the President plumps, implodes, crumbles

into a compost nubbin of ash.
His lies die with him. My world,
ten years old, is no better place.

W. S. Di Piero’s recent books are a volume of poems, The Complaints, and Fat: New and Uncollected Prose.

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Published in the December 2023 issue: View Contents
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