Pestilential Sonnet

Pestilential Sonnet

(after J. V. Cervantes)

The President prays to his helicopter. "Why me, O, Lord,
why me? Some folks sit on the fence, waiting for the voice
from the whirlwind. I gotta make my own wind." Small
needy voices in utero whisper to him. The President prays
in his helicopter. Grass bends in his breeze. Dogs run away.
The power button is carried aboard by an aide. It doesn't
simply vanish when the President sets foot in his helicopter,
heading for his weekend of prayer at Camp David. History
seems to take a time-out as the President flies from one
place to another. It gets up from its place on the couch
and visits the fridge and the bathroom. To his dogs on
the White House lawn the President shrinks to the size
of a gnat in the gut of a huge whirlybird of prey. Picking
at his scabs, the President soars above the drought-plagued
farmland below him. "Why me, O, Lord? Why on my watch?
What next? (he wonders) locusts and frogs? Babies dying
in their mothers' rooms . . . I mean wombs. Why me, O,
Lord? Why make it so hard for me to get the words right?"


Halvard Johnson