Squat and plummy, in small round spectacles, it’s easy
to see him young, a piggy, teased for his odd body, drawing
in the back of class, a bedroom, the gown’s
flounces and slashes, as counterbalance, why else
strive for beauty if manor-born to it? Inflated
as a balloon, or cartoon pie-eater, an isthmus cloud rolls by
as he sips Springtime pastis, the licorice a childhood taste
that never leaves, like rage that never retreats, is only
costumed, or made civilized, as a taxidermied leopard leans
in the window, shadowing a saucer piled with euros.
Paula Bohince is the author of two poetry collections, both published by Sarabande – Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods (2008) and The Children (2012). She lives in Pennsylvania.
This article appears in the 04 Mar 2015 issue of the New Statesman, How Islamic is Islamic State?