January 6, 2021
More like a costume party than a coup,
naughty lads on Halloween night dressed up
as G.I. Joes and cowboys, what they construe
as the uniforms of manhood, corrupt
as children who grab all the candy.
It could be a football game, maybe played
in Green Bay in a snowstorm, with drunk fans,
no shirts, faces smeared in gaudy array
of team colors, frat bros after keg-stands
at a Viking-themed rager, horned helmets
and fur coats over bare skin and tattoos,
who found each other through the internet.
Like a scene from a film by John Hughes
where teens break into the House, crack vases,
piss on rugs, and swing from chandeliers
while parents are away; mask-less faces
pose for selfies, mix comedy and fear.
This is no heroic revolution,
just lost men waving Confederate flags,
oblivious to the Constitution,
beholden to no laws, immune to facts,
a circus act with a thousand white clowns
getting out of one car, climbing the walls
of the Capitol, hoping to break down
democracy while their ringmaster stalls,
locks himself in the lion cage and tweets
like a Dodo bird, soon to be extinct.
Virginia Ottley Craighill lives in Sewanee, TN, where she teaches English at the University of the South. Her most recent poems have been published in Think: a journal of fiction, poetry, and essay and The Cumberland River Review. She has upcoming publications in Illuminations.
Photo by Geoff Livingston.