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Wednesday, February 17, 2016


by Pedro Poitevin

From this week's New Yorker.

There is a special place in hell
(a little sad, a little scary)
where chickenhawks and vultures dwell.

Not far from where good Dante fell
some godforsaken February,
there is a special place in hell.

The geysers and volcanos swell.
The lava tarnishes the prairie.
And chickenhawks and vultures dwell

over a crumbling citadel
devoid of prey or adversary.
There is a special place in hell,

just like she told her clientele
before she hit the cemetery.
There, chickenhawks and vultures dwell,

aligned as in a villanelle.
One greets her: “Madam Secretary—
there is a special place in hell
where chickenhawks and vultures dwell.”

Author's Note: After Madeleine Albright had her "undiplomatic moment," I gave myself permission to have my own. This poem is my attempt at imagining a special place in hell for foreign policy hawks and hedge fund managers.

A mathematician by profession, Pedro Poitevin is a bilingual poet and translator originally from Guatemala. He is a contributor to Letras Libres and Periódico de Poesía, the poetry journal of the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM). Poems in English have appeared or are forthcoming in Rattle, Angle, Mathematical Intelligencer, Everyday Genius, and Nashville Review, among other venues.