Democracy

Michael Johnson Click to read more...

Mike JohnsonMichael Johnson works in a vineyard in Okanagan Falls, Ontario.  His work has appeared in Queen’s Quarterly, The Fiddlehead, Mid-American Review and The Pedestal Magazine.  His poems have also appeared in the Best American and Best Canadian poetry series.

 

Democracy
— Côte d’Ivoire

Dervishes and snake husks blown
against the broken quills of grass
along the ditches like lost prayers,
and the gendarmes, come so quietly
into the holy place of your home.
There might be ink on your thumb.
They might even drop your body
back in front of your home to warn.
Or the limbo of makeshift morgues
and months for proper papers,
and though your family know your
face like a braille poetry of hurt,
they cannot take your body home,
they cannot anoint you for the dust.
Your simple white shoes — where
the blood was caked, your wife
could only pay the rag of her grief
across your shoes until they shone.

 

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