Posture is Important

When they capture you at last in the beechwood
Or in the dunes outside Bethlehem
Don’t slouch, you rough beast
Uncoil your dreadful spine
And stand up straight
But careful, not too straight
or they’ll fill you with buckshot
The shackles are for your own safety,
lion-bodied boy

These yokels think they’re Magi
Bearing weregilds to your savage manger
Muzzling your caterwauls with terrible shibboleths
Greasing you like a hog with myrrh
They christen you while secretly praying
For your fearful body to be unbirthed
For some Herculean womb to swallow you up
You, Nemean Lion of Middle America

So say “thank you!”
And don’t fidget in your irons
Kiss their fatted ankles
Curl up those loathsome lips
Make sure the nails impale your hands
And remember to call them “sir”
When they hang you from the tree

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