Miserere nobis.

Caliban clove the fetters
that hobbled the people of hate,
sprung Stars & Bars, and howls
of White Power!, Immigrants Out!,
brayed Lock her up! through the agora,
and dismembered the moral order.

The sun did not explode,
wind groomed the trees
and buried gutters under leaves,
lobsters scrabbled from littorals
to deeper, warmer offshore seas,
no instrument distinguished the day
sixty-three million Americans
blew illusions about them away.

In the gathering shadows
the outer dark takes stock
of tribal loathing, tribal fear
that gnaw heartland and its Kaiser,
cockroaches in the gene,
primeval, ugly, adamantine
that spy an enemy in every stranger,
twin vandals, that for a lark torch a hijab
while its wearer waves for a Yellow cab.
And in sum, we are afraid.

Dan Burt is a writer whose poetry and prose have appeared in PN Review, the TLS, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, among others. He lives and writes in London, Maine, and St. John's College, Cambridge, of which he is an Honorary Fellow.

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Published in the February 10, 2017 issue: View Contents
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