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Tuesday, October 04, 2005


by Kathleen Sullivan

The Texas rancher whose cattle roam
where oilrigs bow to the prairie grass
says he’s a “dyed in the wool Republican”
which is not how American boys in Iraq
are dying. They are dying in chichi cotton

camouflage; in flimsy unarmored tanks
and despite the president swearing
he didn’t pull the wool over our eyes.
Outside, the wooly bear crawls on the road:
fat and furry, an omen of an awful winter

to come. Growing up, my mother bought
all the girls “ a good wool coat.” Perhaps
she thought wearing one could protect us from what
she’d seen. Like those wool socks! Mothers
knitting socks, sisters knitting, wives. Socks

sent overseas to Normandy and Flanders. They
died in their socks, in their foxholes, while
we pulled the wool over our eyes, surprised to find
that Bergen–Belsen wasn’t a hot springs spa.
About Iraq, Mr. Bush says he doesn’t need

the facts because he “feels it in his gut.”
He’s wired to the Big Guy in the Sky who’s whispering
in his ear, whispering that he’s Moses, that
he’s chosen to lead those other fundamentalists out
of the hands of heathens, into the Land of Freedom—

no matter how many women and children
he blows up. Soft skeins of llama, alpaca, the yarn
stores are full of worried women buying needles,
knitting, like saying the rosary, praying for
a watchful mother to bring us all a good wool coat.

Kathleen Sullivan lives and works in Maine as a psychotherapist. She is also an MFA student in poetry at Stonecoast, in Maine. She has a poem entitled "Icy Lips" just published in Animus.