Imaginary Voice

Of course, I’ll commend him.
She rehearses the lines before the invisible crowd
inside her head,
repeating the words to make them real, authentic,
smooth like silk.
He’s my General. A smile breaks on her impassive face.
You can do your worse: I take it as a game.
The sudden burst of light through the thick clouds
dapples the room.
Something is rotten this side of the river?
Mine is a glass already full but the crimson crowd
keeps on chanting it’s empty!
Absurd, absurd.
This is a crime against reason; there is something demented
in their protestations.
Rain has started to fall: mist covers the stained-glass window;
she takes a deep breath as though to calm herself down.
The chessboard is clear: the Queen rules.
If she is trapped, everybody loses.
Heaven forbid! Pity the pawns who have labored
& suffered tactical ploys.
For falsehood & lies will not change the logic of the game.
A gust of wind slams against the windowpane.
Everyone moves according to his destiny, didn’t they know that?
Elementary, elementary.
Why should I not praise my knights?
Their brilliance is a knife in the heart of the opposition.
& you know how tough it is to stand down or fire.
There is much virtue here, so much valor there.
The phone rings.
Should I fall short of my legionnaires’ expectations?
They wait for my signal religiously.
Of course, I cut them some slack; they need to stay loose.
Even in the midst of murders & conspiracies
for such is the theater of statecraft.
Anyway, blood always spills on the streets.
Even the Israeli Army can’t help inflicting civilian casualties.
Collateral damage, I realize, is the reality of war.
But we shall not be deterred: my boys are resolute;
there should be peace in the land.
She lingers briefly before the mirror,
turning around to check something here & there,
then sighs. I am ready.
The rain has not stopped.

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