By Joshua Mehigan b. 1969 Joshua Mehigan
Their ruler is elected state by state,
and no one cuts his heart out as he drowses.
Their senior citizens still copulate.
Their convicts are allowed to change their blouses.

In this backyard there hangs a gutted deer,
and in that driver's seat there sits a wife.
They have their MMR and Retrovir.
They have their quarter-century more life.

Each commoner receives a welcome mat.
The maids have maids, and plumbers go to Paris.
They call their waiters "sir." The poor are fat.
They eat. They do not easily embarrass.

Source: Poetry (January 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the January 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2008
 Joshua  Mehigan


Poet Joshua Mehigan grew up in upstate New York and earned a BA from Purchase College and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Influenced by the poetry of Philip Larkin, Jorge Luis Borges, and Edgar Bowers, Mehigan writes intelligent, morally complex lyric poems shaped by a nuanced attention to rhyme and meter. Critic Adam Kirsch praised The Optimist in a review for the New York Sun, observing, “Mr. Mehigan is Frost-like in the . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Class

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.