"We got our asses kicked yesterday."
Monday morning at a diner in the suburbs,
the words spiral over from the next table.
The men have been talking about work,
and at first I think they mean on the job site.
But of course by "we" they mean the Bears,
and the ass-kickers are Detroit, I realize,
as the sentence stutter-steps around the offense,
drops through an alternate parsing route, and scores.
This "we" that makes such strange linguistic sense,
I still can't wrap my hands around it and tuck it under my arm.
I'm not a part of this "we," this synecdoche,
the "we" meaning "they" meaning "us all."
My ass suffered no kicking on that gridiron,
nor did the asses of my two neighbors,
and Chicago's still intact, as far as I can tell,
her buildings straight, her storefronts unsacked.
This allegiance, this adhesion, it's all Greek to me,
an apostate, an infidel to the geography of devotion.
Betrayed by congregations of "we," cast out,
I stand apart. No border could make "we" of "they" and "me."
Until this morning's news intrudes. Dateline: The Capitol.
We got our asses kicked yesterday.