An American Coronation

Electrocutions show our love of rite:
We give the favored one a kingly feast,
As well as pen and ink so he can write
The thoughts we all will prize when he’s deceased.                                      
We see his every need is now addressed:
Fine soaps and lotions for his last toilette;
His denim vestments washed and neatly pressed —
A towel to wipe away the beads of sweat.
His chaplain comes and reads a psalm to show
The kingdom he’ll inherit when he’s dead,
Then next a courtly barber comes, bows low —
To shave his shaking shins and then his head.
A solemn entourage supports him down
The hall, to seat him on his sturdy throne.
Upon his head we place a cabled crown —
So heavy his attendants hear him groan.
And then while we are careful to maintain
Our poise —to spite the lands where we’re despised —
We send him to that unexplored domain.
How dare they say that we’re uncivilized!

Published with permission of "Iambs and Trochees," 2004


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