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.