Ally Malinenko

kashinama by swadesh misra
“Kashinama” by Swadesh Misra

Ideally the American System Produces Self-Confident Capable People

I heard them outside the Duomo
in Florence, chanting
USA, USA, USA
over and over
into that sweet Italian night.

There were about 20 of them,
tan, blonde,
broad shoulders
slender waists,
their skin tightened
by years of minimal labor
and large quantities of cash
handed down to them by
broad-shouldered fathers
and slender-waisted mothers.

Their wide open mouths,
their white teeth
glistening
as they chant
USA USA USA USA
like the piazza was
a football stadium

and their country was full of winners.

Drunk on sweet air and wine
I turn back to look at them
and shout
“You’re an embarrassment”

and the chanting dies down.
I hear the shuffling of feet
the heavy sigh from my husband
who will now have to contend
with whatever  my big mouth
brings us

but then,
a lone voice
calls back to me

“No. You’re an embarrassment.”

And then,
USA USA USA
again
into that good night.

For more about Swadesh Misra

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