The Queen Is
In the Countinghouse

There is a new blue tinge to the sun
The stockboys line up for their checks:
There's Hans and Wah Lee and Pedro Gaspar,
They line up for their checks as the sun
                          Turns ever darker.

Last year they asked for drachmas,
The year before it was sucres
God knows what it will be tomorrow.
Françoise is demanding a general strike,
A general amnesty for the General's boys.

The Queen is looking pale.
She sits in the countinghouse
Waiting for the sun to die.
But her eye is on the falconers;
Rumor has it she is "embarasada."
The boys laugh at her lisp and she weeps
For all children still unborn.

The stockboys line up for their checks.
Next year (perhaps) they'll want
Flowers instead of florins.
In Crematoria Park, they've set up tables;
Lunch will be served at noon
The bodies will be shown at one.
There will be paté, fried turnips,
Thyme-baked herring with marshmallows.
They say that the subaltern
Will give a speech on the new order
Of the new economy, or the state
Of the state of the unions
Or the coming of night.

The Queen is displeased.
War is general, the rivers have turned
From gold to the color of clotted blood.
The Queen is displeased
And sad (they say).
She's in the countinghouse
But she is now very sad.

Tomorrow perhaps some one will dance the cha-cha-cha for her
And for the general's boys with come up with something
For the courtiers. Meanwhile, the mercinaries
Idle their time away in rapine
And occasional screams of joy:
Singing of war and desuetude,
The general lack of spirits, and no holiday pay.

The soothsayers say the stars are turning in circles.
They say the stars are beginning to turn against us.

The Queen no longer speaks to the crowds
Nor to her husband Abdulla.
She spends almost all her days
And part of the night
Looking for the lost holy pearls
Of God's Good Grace
Pearls stolen by peasants
In the last land war but one.

--- © The Estate of Leslie L. Seamans
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