It was peacetime, but the ship had strayed into the waters of an unfriendly nation and was seized. The captain and crew were released without harm, but the ship was kept for two months. On its return, it was a stupendous sight. It looked like Disneyland. No battleship grey, only primary colors. No structural steel, only plastic. Stairs and ladders had been replaced by fun chutes leading who knew where. Passages had become funhouse corridors, mazes and blind alleys. Floors tilted, rolled, fell away or turned rubbery and soft. No room, however small, retained its right angles; no rectangles, only crazy trapezoids. Every wall was a distorting mirror – when you could see it, for every source of light had been removed. It is our ship of state, which we have inhabited for almost four years.
Cheryl Caesar lived in Paris for 25 years. She now teaches writing at Michigan State University. Last year she published over a hundred poems in the U.S., Germany, India, Bangladesh, Yemen and Zimbabwe. Her book Flatman: Poems of Protest in the Trump Era, is available from Amazon.