Home > Poetry > A Child’s Guide to Latin American Politics
Published: Wed Oct 15 1986
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
A Child’s Guide to Latin American Politics

The old lady in perpetual black
she fingers her beads
she is reading God’s collected works

The palace guard cleans his pistol
he can only work nights
he’s studying to be a butcher
he is cleaning his butcher’s manual

God in His Heaven
a big anti-Cuban cigar in His mouth
He’s studying to be a dictator
He doesn’t want to work nights
He is reading El Supremo’s collected works

El Supremo in his palace
he is studying to be a dog-catcher
he has just put out a red alert on dachshunds
“their bellies are dangerously close to the ground”
“their bellies will scar our highway system”
he only reads his own collected works

And the dachshunds
they can hardly read at all

See what's inside AGNI 23

Lawrence Millman is author of Our Like Will Not Be There Again (Little Brown, 1977), _Hero Jesse _(St. Martins, 1982), and Smell of Earth and Clay (White Pine Press, 1985). He is currently working on a non-fiction book about Iceland. (updated 1986)

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