The People of the Other Village

By Thomas Lux b. 1946 Thomas Lux
hate the people of this village   
and would nail our hats
to our heads for refusing in their presence to remove them
or staple our hands to our foreheads   
for refusing to salute them
if we did not hurt them first: mail them packages of rats,
mix their flour at night with broken glass.
We do this, they do that.
They peel the larynx from one of our brothers’ throats.
We devein one of their sisters.
The quicksand pits they built were good.
Our amputation teams were better.
We trained some birds to steal their wheat.
They sent to us exploding ambassadors of peace.
They do this, we do that.
We canceled our sheep imports.   
They no longer bought our blankets.   
We mocked their greatest poet   
and when that had no effect   
we parodied the way they dance
which did cause pain, so they, in turn, said our God
was leprous, hairless.
We do this, they do that.
Ten thousand (10,000) years, ten thousand
(10,000) brutal, beautiful years.

Thomas Lux, “The People of the Other Village” from New and Selected Poems: 1975-1995. Copyright © 1997 by Thomas Lux. Used by the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: New and Selected Poems 1975-1995 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1997)

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Poet Thomas Lux b. 1946

Subjects War & Conflict, History & Politics, Social Commentaries