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My visiting mother-in-law
brought home from the grocery store a pack of powdered donuts
proffered with an air of majesty
she has been chased by foreign armies with knives
has survived godless privation
even in peacetime her country is besieged by water
it attacks from the air and of course from the sea
Earth's most precious resource is a murdering blunt instrument
as wide as all you have loved
it tickles the top of the little sea wall then roars in
as if affronted at having been held at arm's length
wildly smashes your sturdy town aside in a fit of explosive chaos
scream and splinter and mayhem
and domesticated animals crying out in their various languages 

uncontained water swarms the huiskamer

inundates the meadow
smugly occupies the lungs of your loved ones
in the soaked and sunlit aftermath
apologetic colored weeds
hesitantly spring up through the frayed wreckage
a crummy bouquet from the embarrassed drunk who beat you last night

this water issue and the Big War
have given my mother-in-law's country an angle on powdered donuts
when I'm visiting she will return from the village grocery
with an air of muted delight
in the canvas bag with the rounded hothouse veggies
a demure little packet of powdered donuts six in a line
viewed through die-cut cardboard and cellophane

a museum window
crown jewels on an ermine-covered cushion
how to tell her
she's been here many times

I shouldn't have to tell her
my country is also surrounded by water
through topographic whimsy we do not abide in a declivity
we're high and dry
foreign armies would have to march for thousands of miles
across the ocean floor to attack us
we are not besieged
we are a gigantic swollen isthmus

comfortable and dazed
we don't eat donuts here

we take them like aspirin.

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