Image of Smoke


Betsy Andrews

The President speaks, and it’s a landfill emission, it’s a mega-drill fracturing shale. 

The President speaks. It’s an oil well blowout, it’s a seismic air gun silencing
the woop-woop music of whales. The President speaks. It’s lead ammunition,
it’s dry-cleaner solvent, it’s toxic copper filter cake. The President speaks; it’s billowing coal dust.
It’s a train hauling flammable liquids right through the NIMBY front gate. 

While the President eats his endangered dinner, while he cranks up his jack-in-the-box, let us

climb to the top of the President’s tower, ride its glittering lift like it’s a beautiful woman’s cock.  

We’ll take stock of the world from this creaky zenith, plant our bare asses on its ledge and unlock 

a whopping view: pinking clouds and the sun humming its sonorous setting song
over a river filling with sandhill cranes, the great wet roost purring like a bed of overfed cats, 

the marsh awash in wingbeat with the going of geese and the coming of blackbirds by the millions

upon millions upon millions, then Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the full-bellied moon, 

and us here, my loves, tits out and lightning bolts dripping, 

singing our cataclysmic tune, a monsoon of response to the migrating flocks, 

a pox on the President’s particulate matter, the filth at the end of his pen. 

When dragon uncurls on night’s shimmering bed, meteors streaming from his trapezoid head, 

you know Earth is ploughing through deep shit. The President doesn’t give a wit.
Sandwiched in his mirrored den, the President, ad nauseum, sees President President President,

Stockholm syndrome rebranded as an echo chamber for one. We’re done with this leveling age of improvement, the movement of sound waves from bellowing rockets ripping through rainbows,

tearing new assholes out of the sky, flame-throwing lies burning through nations
like a mega-fire on a dry-hump jag, California in the bag and popping like microwaved popcorn. 

“It was so loud,” says the evacuatee, “you could hear the trees exploding. Pow, pow, pow!”
We are up here with the chimney swifts now, and like them, we don’t need perches; 

as the President lurches from a vista of the back of his head to a vista of his face,
we stand and arch and flip off into space, navigating by sight and scent,
by the planet’s infrasonic rant, by the bloody delicious stars, out above the President’s tower,
which is made of mud, which lists and leans and lurches, then topples with a thud

Author Picture

Betsy Andrews

is the author of New Jersey (UWisc Press, 2007), winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry, and The Bottom (42 Miles Press, 2014), recipient of the 42 Miles Press Prize in Poetry. Her chapbooks include She-Devil (Sardines Press), In Trouble (BoogCity Press), and with the artist Peter Fox, Supercollider.