Written by Ed Meek.
Rubber straps shaped like nooses
hang from steel rods in subway trains.
Lucky for us, they’re too small
for human heads. Instead, we hang on
for balance when the train lurches
and careens around a bend.
It can be hard to keep your balance
in America where the politicians
steal us blind and line
the pockets of their friends.
Keep your eyes open.
These are the same souls
that hanged 19 women in Salem.
It turns out we are easily bewitched,
deluded by events beyond our control:
random fires, crop failures, seizures,
assassinations, terrorist attacks all demand
retribution. Someone has to pay
for our sins and when there are no witches
to be found, there are African-
Americans to shoot
or jail and electrocute.
Like Blacks and Asians,
all Arabs look alike. A little shock
and awe what they get.
Troops protect the oil;
Drones are missionaries.
Meanwhile, we hang on
for dear life. You can understand
our need for opioids, guns and a savior.
Someone who promises
a return to the life we never had.
Ed Meek has had poems published in The Sun, North Dakota Quarterly, and Plume. His new book, High Tide, came out last summer.