Poems of the Week

Ballade of Electoral Anxiety

by Julia Griffin

“Joe Biden confuses Gaza with Ukraine in airdrop announcement”
The Guardian

Life can’t be easy in the highest sphere.
The Presidency’s not a sinecure,
(Though Air Force One is comfortable, I hear,
And White House life has some distinct allure—
At least from what I gathered on the tour);
My point, however, is the stress and strain,
Which sometimes leads to slips one might deplore:
Like meaning “Gaza” when one says “Ukraine.”

When these occur, the other side will jeer,
And journalists act snide or faux-demure,
While chosen spokesters struggle to appear
Delighted to take questions from the floor,
And wholly unafraid of an encore.
The President, they’ll stonily explain,
Is weary; it is obvious, therefore,
We should think “Gaza” when we hear “Ukraine.”

There still remains three-quarters of a year
Before we’re in that polling booth once more,
Drawn, maybe, less by eagerness than fear;
When the alternative’s a vicious boor,
Bully, and fraud, with debts and writs galore—
Someone whose rightful domicile’s a drain—
Let’s pray the public’s able to endure
One who for “Gaza” sometimes says “Ukraine.”

Oh, Mr. President! Your heart is pure
(Or more or less): you’re decent and humane;
I’ll vote for you, but God! Would I were sure
You don’t mean “Gaza” when you say “Ukraine.”