Tracing writhing streams,
circling alpine wastes,
tickling out a finger nudged
between  two behemoths,
the crooked ring completed at last  
by river, ocean, mountain or murder,  
by hope the nest will now suffice
to nourish a dogma, cradle a tyrant —
 
these are the comic opera states,
size inverse to pomp,
 
pets to giant neighbors
who are owners of  arching hemispheres
with lines that need not follow nature,
their sometime arrow straightness  
marking power triumphant,
topography ignored,
arbitrary division among the pride,
the jackals left the rest.
 
And on every border a Janus sign
that blares, “Only we are worthy.”

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