. La Muerte In those days, no king ruled in Ithaca. A pack moved in with communist ideals: An orgy funded by another’s store. Wine flowed like beer, with all the women free. All except one. Plus one too old to count. The old order withdrew in toothlessness, And kept to margins, crags, followed the flocks, Or practiced the lost arts and spun and wove. The queen cross-stitched like prisoners do puzzles. Her backward method passed for meaningless. The sharks swam circles ever closer to her. Wolves jostled, nudged her shoulder meaningly. He tests his bowstring. And the note rings true. The bandits start: the walls are bare of darts. He hunts the hunters now. No deals, no doors. The rule of law. The wheel. The wall. The king. . . La Bota Spit and polish. We were taught to hate this. The boot comes down and grinds the human face. Whether it’s left or right, we hate the boot. Planted on the chair, filliped with the whip. We hate and fear it. We were taught to lick this. To lick while hating. And the shinier The boot the less we like it, knowing well What spit it took to make that polish bright. Sylvia’s shriek still sounding in the halls. I could not think of one good thing to say, One thing that would be not just good but true, Until I pictured you on your white horse. Remember Washington. And Valley Forge. The threadbare costumes and the broken boots, The blue and suffering frost-bitten feet Sloshing for love through rivers of defeat. . . Monika Cooper is an American family woman.