30/30 #9, Karen’s Pick

Today’s poem comes from San Francisco based poet Daphne Gottlieb. Daphne is a wildly accomplished young poet whose books Kissing Dead Girls, Final Girl, Why Things Burn and Pelt are widely loved and award winning.

double cross

the townspeople
are coming
to your door

with torches.
they have painted
a scarlet A

on you and
your lover
laughs from

the center of town.
the neighbors
are burning

a cross on
your lawn.
it was friendly

fire.your crew
has cried
for mutiny.

no one will
post your bail.
they broke

the lock
and read
your diary.

what could
they do,
it was a crime

to harbor
a jew,
a gypsy,

a whore
and you
were all three.

there’s just no
more room
at the lunch table,

the dinner
table, in the car.
they held you

while the school
bully hit and
hit. no hard

it was you
or them

and they
don’t like
getting hit.

your best friend
snuck around

your back.
it’s a frame
job but no

one will believe
you. your father
was always

sorry afterwards.
you have to

it’s for your
own good. you
have to understand

the security
of the country
was at stake

and you
were red

the villagers
are yelling,
they are out

for blood.
you are not
a monster,

you want to
say, but you
do not have

for this
because you are

a monster, just
not the kind
they think.

you did your
best to be a good
captain, you are

not responsible
for the lack
of provisions, the rats

in the provisions,
the disease
from the rats.

you would go
down with
the ship for them

but they want
you to take
a long walk

off a short
wooden pier,
to walk

the wooden
plank, to climb
on the cross.

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