After the tyrant was deposed

by time

(he never felt the sting of justice

just dawdled off to his dottage

self-righteous to the last)

his monument was defaced

his face

a punchline on t-shirts.

The children he stole were given back to their mothers


The wall never was built

but the families ripped apart came back together


The soil of the country

wore more scars

scars upon scars

but too many to pin blame.

His laws were overturned

one by one


and his signature

made each less likely to stand.

And the men who made his idle thought into vicious plans

and his insults into bureaucratic systems

were forgiven

(the women were not).

The respect lost

was respect lost

maybe never deserved

none left could demand it

after the tyrant.

His party, his followers

said they were never his party, his followers

and though their immunity to evidence

was evidence

reminding them proved too exhausting.

And the people who were

not the tyrant’s targets


and the targets were dismissed as bitter

and told to stop

like their justice

was last fall’s fashion.

Because forgetting how bad it was

was still better

than a lot of people

would have allowed it to get.

And who wants to think about

how bad they would have let it get