David Galef


Trump, Schooled

Trump drops in on a local school,
Trying to prove that he’s no fool.
Most of the teachers scurry away,
But one of them stops by to say,
“Happy to see you, Mr. Trump!
Maybe you’ll get us out of a slump.
Today we’re discussing tragedy.
Can you lead the class instead of me?”
Trump figures sure, he’s a real whiz
And asks, “Who can say what tragedy is?”
One girl in back raises a hand.
“We live on a farm with a lot of land.
If a tractor crushes my brother flat,
Is that an example? How about that?”
Trump shakes his head. “Not what I meant.
Something like that is an accident.”
Next up, a little boy volunteers:
“What if a big truck suddenly veers,
Hits a school bus, and kills thirty-three.
Wouldn’t that be a tragedy?”
Trump frowns again. “Sorry, chum.
That’s just a big loss, at least for some.”
After a while, the silence grows long.
Trump grows impatient. “This is so wrong!
Can nobody give me a definition?”
One girl in back, as if on a mission,
Says, “What if a heat-seeking missile smashes
Into the Oval Office and trashes
The office and you, Mr. President?”
Trump smacks his thigh. “Now that’s what I meant!
Next question for you: Can you tell me why?”
The girl puts on an expression that’s wry.
“Well, no big loss, the way it went,
And it sure wouldn’t be an accident!”

Though better known as a fiction writer, David Galef has published a boatload of poems in The Yale Review, Shenandoah, Witness, Measure, etc., and was once the featured poet in Light. His two poetry books are Flaws and Kanji Poems, his two poem chapbooks Lists and Apocalypses. He Zooms in as professor of English and creative writing program director at Montclair State U.