poetry quarterly

10th anniversary


Dan Vera



We'll start with the gold of Havana's women,
who hearing you needed money for your revolutionary war
offered their wedding rings and necklaces,
to be melted,
to finance your white-wigged revolution
that was so very bold
but so very poor.
The skeleton of José Moñino y Redondo
has come to take it all back.
No muskets for you.  
No cannons, no cannon balls,
no gunpowder, no bombs or mortars,
no clothes for your freezing soldier sons.
I’m afraid that bitter winter in Valley Forge will end quite differently now.

While we're at it, we take back the help of our ancestors,
Bernardo de Galvez, Fernando de Leyba, and the thousands
of men with surnames that so displease you now,
who repelled the British in Florida and Louisiana,
who secured your flimsy Western borders
and marched to win your battles for you
in Indiana and Michigan and Missouri
before there was an Indiana or a Michigan, or a Missouri.

Hearing the commotion
Francisco Saavédra de Sangronis has stirred in his Andalusian grave
demanding that while you're purifying the record
you return the half a million dollars in silver
that he collected in 24 hours
to fund your great final victory in Yorktown.

We will help you purify the record
but our ancestors insist in retroactively removing themselves from your history.
And being a bit weak on your own history as you are
you may find the parting very hard to take.

Dan Vera is the author of The Space Between Our Danger and Delight (Beothuk Books, 2008). His poems have appeared in CutthroatDelaware Poetry ReviewGargoyle, Ishmael Reed's Konch, and Undefined, and the anthologies Divining Divas: Gay Poets on Their Divas, Full Moon On K Street: Poems About Washington, DC, Dog Blessings, and DC Poets Against the War. He is co-founder of Vrzhu Press, publisher of Souvenir Spoon Books, edited the Gay culture journal White Crane, co-hosts the Capitol Hill reading series, and helped create the new poetry incubator Poetry Mutual of America.


Published in Volume 13, Number 1, Winter 2012.


To read more by this author:
Dan Vera
Dan Vera: Evolving City Issue
Dan Vera: Split This Rock Issue
Kim Roberts and Vera on DC Author's Houses: Forebears Issue
Dan Vera's Intro to the US Poets Laureate Issue (Fall 2009)
Dan Vera on Four Laureates: US Poets Laureate Issue
Dan Vera: Tenth Anniversary Issue
Dan Vera: Langston Hughes Tribute Issue
Dan Vera on Sterling A. Brown: Poetic Ancestors Issue