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kingdom, gone

bouncy …

finger curls
dangle like ornaments from her brow,
kissed by a breeze like
the hem of daddy’s flag,
shaped to mask it in
cold redemption -
contempt for the valor
wasted on a country she
can’t even pronounce …
no fury, hath hell, like
a child’s tears -
smears etched on her cheek in the
blood of strangers,
a flood of dangers that
stole her backyard kingdom’s throne -
the only lap she trusted …
wee, rusted toys
sprout from the lawn
where once upon a time
she dallied with
her handsome prince,
tender grasses tickling their
chins as they counted clover,
sharing stories over biscuits and tea -
mommy, content to play
the hand-maiden,
heavy-laden with spoons and saucers,
(and whispered instructions),
now …
the grass is overgrown
and weedy,
a needy house and yard
aching for the strong arms
that kept them …
no longer moving the earth,
but feeding it …
all those gifts, sifted -
lifted by fingers
that linger on the words
last said in haste …
such worldly waste,
and not one damned caliphate,
(late for the party),
not one red rose, bled of its color,
not one single God,
promises as fodder, betrayed -
debt now paid -
can ever tell her …


Copyright © Gregory Richard Barden, January 17, 2023

Copyright © Gregory Richard Barden