Poems of the Week

Number One With a Bullet

by Steven Kent

“Better than Bulgaria but not as nice as Cuba: how did the United States
become such an awful place to live?”
The Guardian

My foreign friend, how dare you cast
Aspersions on this nation?
We top the list from first to last
In every situation,

Especially when we measure stuff
Like poverty and shootings
And child mortality (that’s rough),
Mass murders, riots, lootings,

And pill-fed deaths of deep despair
And crushing healthcare fails—
This train has run (despite the fare)
Completely off the rails.

It’s not that bad, some might retort;
Why so much dark foreboding?
Democracy’s on life support,
Autocracy’s exploding.

Things didn’t have to go this way,
But can they be undone?
Tomorrow let us hope and pray
We slip from Number One.