[It’s] a Republic, Madam – if you can keep it.
-- Benjamin Franklin, 1787
What could I tell my mother,
that driven orphan who for all
her years refused to ride the
VWs that were
family business cars. She said
they made her gorge rise at the
thought. When friends went underground
she joined World Federalists.
I have still in a drawer
the olive-wreathed gold globe
she pinned to her lapels.
How outline on her webbed
Depression scars the ways
we mirror what brought Weimar down.
They claimed she could not grasp
how indirection may attain one’s ends
but something tigerish infused her space.
She would not bear the easy
ways in which submission creeps
and secret places are where
life subsists. Do not abide,
she’d say, though fearful of the
cost. Uncloak the Lady’s lamp.
Stride forth. Persist.
First published in Such an Ugly Time (Rat's Ass Review, March 2017); reprinted in [Capitol] Hill Rag, July 2017