THE SUCCUBUS VISITS POTUS
At 3 a.m. sharp she appears on his screen,
steps through it and straddles him.
Her hair is as long as the Amazon
and she’s strong as a python.
He suspects she could kill him
with a kiss and has to admire that.
She deserves a crown, a tiara.
If he were free he might marry her.
She’s on the job and so good
he fails to see her twisted teeth,
three sets of breasts, talon nails.
To him she looks like all the rest.
Beautiful, long-legged, a 10.
Even better. Maybe a 12.
She tells him each time,
Baby, you’re the greatest,
and sends him to the moon.
His mushroom-cloud cuckoo flies
through her infinite vagina
and he ‘s dancing with the stars.
Her practices are best, yet night
after night, her mission tanks.
She can’t steal his soul, can’t
even find it. She envies Mae West
because she’s dead, and his wife
asleep in a faraway room. In the hall,
his press secretary squats, over a spittoon,
delivers something misshapen,
to wrap in the morning paper.
Since the first POTUS moved in,
there’s never been a union like this one.
Clearly, he doesn’t want it to end.
Her assignment must continue, but
she tells her boss, the minute the sucker
has to leave this house, he’s on his own.
LETTER IN LOCKDOWN
Do you ever fear you’ll run out
of money? Does the thought
keep you up at night, tweeting
like a demented bird?
Sorry we had to miss
the blossoms this year.
A bird will eat cherries
with worms in them.
Will you? I forgot,
you don’t eat fruit.
You fly, but only on Air
Force One, eating burgers.
Under your bed in
the White House
is a suitcase full of
You unlock it at 3 a.m,
hope the money will
be good in Venezuela,
even if only for toilet
paper, anywhere you can’t
be extradited. Wishing you
the occasional piece of cake
in prison, with whipped
cream and a cherry on top,
AVA TELLS THE WHITE AUDIENCE AGAIN
After the city-street murder
in the state with a thousand lakes
the filmmaker went on TV to explain
how we saw what we saw:
It was all in the camera work.
This lynching was a first.
Never before had we seen
from beginning to end
killer and being-killed
captured together in a single frame.
The camera held the sight
of the man on the ground and
the kneeling man’s casual gaze
hand in pocket until he finished
looking straight at us.
It may have been like first seeing
Birth of a Nation, Gone with the Wind.
The national nervous system changed.
A FEW MONTHS IN
It was time for their annual visits
but not this year. Still in good health,
they were suddenly outdated, flying
too dangerous, an impossibility
of uncertain duration. Long ago,
they had lost their parents. Now,
their sisters too, without a farewell?
When she asked if he’d regret
never seeing her sister again,
he felt how much he wanted
to sit next to his own, sink into
her soft sofa, get the full story
on her unexplained anemia.
Before airplanes and phones, when
immigrants departed on ships,
most did not expect to see
their old ones again, faces
dimming, hands waving
smaller and smaller from the dock.
From here on they would touch
one another only in dreams.
Photos and letters would be sent,
and death would have the last word,
but ocean gave the warning.
THE NEED FOR HERD IMMUNITY
The future appeared in the rear-view camera
and I saw my death. It was a fact but not statistical.
Nor was your death a digit. Where are you, anyway?
My car felt dangerous, so I left it on the side
of the road. I was afraid to be alone and joined
the herd. We feed and move and are driven
by Statistical, looking so smart, so buff,
in leather and chaps. Such a good rider
with such a big lariat. Not afraid of snakes
or cliffs. Adios, dear buffalo. We say that again
so you don’t feel forgotten. Your fallen bodies
are indeed remembered, fondly.
We’re all together, hola, all you other
herd animals. We’re about to be counted.
We stop to drink from a river. Statistical oils
his rifle, opens the ledger. Here comes the cavalry.
Catherine Gonick’s poetry has appeared in literary magazines including Notre Dame Review, Forge, Sukoon, PoetsArtists, decomP, Ginosko, and Diagram, and in anthologies including in plein air, and forthcoming, Grabbed. She was awarded the Ina Coolbrith Memorial Prize for Poetry and was a finalist in the National Ten-Minute Play Contest with the Actors Theatre of Louisville. She is part of a company that transforms waste around the globe into sustainable products that mitigate the effects of climate change.