2014 Poet's Seat Poetry Contest: “Viva” by James Heflin

James Heflin
Recorder/Micky Bedell

James Heflin Recorder/Micky Bedell


I rebel incrementally.

I rip sugar packets in the middle.

I stick to the password until the sentries give in.

I’m working up to the big one,

the steel of a cutlass drawn

at the line beyond which:

I stack things up —

bits of pancake shoved past the syrup lake,

squealing of the deadbolt.

I fake picking up after the dog,

just a swipe of the bag through leaves.

No one notices except the woman on Princeton Avenue

who flicks the curtains aside, a mess of chewing mouth

as she carries on, unhearable.

True, this is not the plan as originally conceived.

But adaptability means a lot in the early days of any given coup.

My comrades haven’t even recognized themselves as such.

A little hubbub here and there is to be expected.

I do have a plan for this thing.

The final brick gets smacked into place, troweled like heck,

and there’s a wall where a minute before

nobody would have thought

anything except “What are those bricks doing there?”

You wake up and see that the presidential palace

with its waving palms

and its pool shaped like the Founding Father

hovers just on the horizon.

You can reach it by horseback in a day

but not, my friend,

if you have not shod the horse.

James Heflin

South Deerfield

Adult poet, first place

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