Are There Tear Stains in the Oval Room?

Last Monday the President went mad.

At ten a.m. he cleared his throat
to a bank of lettered microphones,
looked out over fifty million T.V. viewers,
and burst into tears.

He stammered that he didn't care

if America

were a number one power

or a number thirty-nine power—

(the doctors called it "ego-loss")
and that if history remembered him
as the president who lost the war
that was okay
because it wasn't history that wouldn't let him rest

at night
it was the casualty lists
and the dead children of My Lai that clung
like burrs to his tired brain.

So now
he's in a quiet place and plays
a lot of solitaire; jokes with the orderlies;
the nurses show him photos of their babies.
But all agree he's mad, for if you mention guns,
defoliation, generals or death:

He quietly begins to cry.

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