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Preparing Ourselves for a President

by Berry Friesen (November, 2008)

Oswald didn’t fire the bullets
  that remind our leaders
  to wield their powers with great care.
He was standing at the entrance
  of the school book depository,
  watching like the rest.

“I’m just a patsy,” he told the world,
  someone fixed to take the blame,
  then die on national TV.
Though the facts were on his side,
   we had more important things to do
   than insist justice have its day.

Blaming Oswald became our ritual,
  the Kool-Aid we sipped
  as we rose up through the ranks.
It conveyed sophistication
  to disdain conspiracy
  and not go digging in the muck.

So no surprise when our new leader,
  who sparks our hopes and
  emboldens our dreams,
says he’ll hunt the dead bin Laden
  and treat official crimes
  with benign neglect.

This is how he shows he’s ready
  to wield the power
  and look under the rug.
And we, party to ambition’s bargain,
  celebrate his wit and steady grace
  mourning the mettle we have lost.

---first published in Water from Another Time:  Today’s Questions, Yesterday’s Wisdom by Berry Friesen (Masthof Press, 2010).