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Sunday, September 25, 2011


by Eileen Ivey Sirota

Cheney writes that after heart surgery in 2010, he was unconscious for weeks. During that time, the New York Times writes, Cheney had a "prolonged, vivid dream that he was living in an Italian villa, pacing the stone paths to get coffee and newspapers.”

Even unconscious, Dick Cheney paces,
restless, seeking coffee
and newspapers, in an Italian villa.

Did the fennel fronds along the path
bow and quiver at his footstep,
while Tuscan winds
whispered of waterboarding?

Did the latte sour in its pot,
deposit queasy lumps of curd
at news of his approach,
weep into the fazzoletti?

And what about the newspapers
with their operatic names--
Corriere della Sera,
Il Messaggero
Did the ink spill off the page
to escape his fatal touch?

Perhaps the stones he trod
broadcast their shivers to those other
stones, standing silent and sober
in Anbar, Helmand, Alabama.

Cheney’s fantasy;
Italy’s sogno brutto.
Tell the unconscious Americans
to stay at home.

A career psychotherapist, Eileen Ivey Sirota has found that writing poetry, a mid-life discovery, has offered an additional vantage point for observing and commenting on the human condition in all its tragicomic variety.  She has been published in Lighten Up, a British quarterly, and on the Smith College alumnae poetry website.  When she is not sputtering rabidly over the newspaper, she attends writing workshops at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland.