Volume 31, Number 1

that time of year again

It’s that time of year again—
when his face is plastered all over Beirut

A crooked man with a crooked face—
old and decrepit—
smiling at the founder,
and the founder smiles back

They have never met,
and never will.

Outside his cabinet
the soldiers dance to the derbake,
the grandmothers throw rice,
as the young men thrash around the streets,
and the children light the fireworks

He must’ve been reelected.
No one tries to make sure.

the ceremonies drone on and on—

That is how things are done here.

—J. D. Harlock