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Saturday, January 02, 2021


by Bonnie Naradzay

after Ilya Kaminsky

we lived happily, forgive us, 
we survived, even thrived, 
the way we slunk into the mud
beside the walkways, gave in, 
turned our eyes away, gestured 
with gratitude, wore masks, 
our eyeglasses clouding over, 
vision blurred, happily seeing
hypocrites roll up their sleeves, 
watch them all jump the lines, 
pull rank, Pence with his naked 
flabby arm, bravely showing 
how it’s done, we stood aside,
read about the one pardoned 
for ordering her police dog
to savage a homeless man 
backed against the wall,
showing how it’s done, 
war criminals pardoned,
mercenaries, paid with 
our taxes, gunning down
children with impunity, 
the nakedness of our nation,
we bowed in obeisance, 
sidled by, raised our hands,
excused ourselves, waved 
a note from the teacher,
we lived happily (forgive us)
                     the long year, is it over yet?  

Bonnie Naradzay's recent poems are in AGNI, the American Journal of Poetry, New Letters (Pushcart nomination), RHINO, Tar River Poetry, EPOCH, Tampa Review, Kenyon Review Online, Potomac Review, Xavier Review, and One Magazine. For many years she has led poetry workshops at a day shelter for the homeless and at a retirement center, both in Washington, DC.