Tom Sexton: A New Poem
The Barbarians Have Arrived
by Tom Sexton
After a few centuries of patiently waiting
outside the city, the barbarians have finally
arrived and taken over the Capitol.
When did they realize our Republic was rotting
from the inside like an overripe pear?
Who thought they’d look just like us?
Why are senators standing to applaud that man?
Is he a general, a person of great esteem, a philosopher?
He’s the president. They fear what will happen
if they do not reward his every word.
He has no gladiators, or lions, but he has shown them
infants in cages to contemplate.
He has his finger on the pulse of the mob.
They will do what he tells them to do.
Is he always so red-faced and bitter?
Take my advice, stranger, stand up and clap
before he notices you and throws your name
to the crowd like a piece of raw beef.