this is not how i remember it—
piñatas, birthday parties,
let-her-have-a-turn-too big brother,
oh, adoring little sister i was.
i do remember being open-hand slapped—
a dreaded but familiar feeling
red and stinging.
something i came to accept
as common as air or nickels.
democracy was a sure thing, a given—
democratic nations were not
relapsing addicts: backsliding.
world governments sitting in a circle—
remember Vietnam? yeah, that was crazy.
we tried spreading democracy,
like it was crack cocaine
but nah man,
like oil to water.
a metal-legged chair scrapes the floor,
the United States going out for a cigarette quips
even we seem to be losing our taste for it.
the citizenry squeals for its mom
red-faced and bleary,
but five minutes later,
is sitting on the floor doing a puzzle,
working hard to make round blocks fit into square holes.
all transgressions forgotten,
the tape fades to static.