Peter Chapman Poetry

the taster

for Dan Johnson

he was there the way a spider is,
suddenly with you and wanting, oh not
entirely but depending on your nerves,
a swift appraisal

he went to work without whispers even,
shifting the setting so the President
(whose articulation came as a surprise
to many and an irritant to no few)
could live out the meal

the powerful watched our new leader
enter the seraphim'd and scepter'd halls,
catching both hands (in our minds) to his balls
then nodding, sit among the gossips and glads

to the end the taster deflected harm,
switching fork, knife and glass,
nicely covering the country's ass

exemplar of all these sovereign states--
short, bristle-haired, cutting failure's odds
to the look we get, thinking

America, in you we rest
devoted to what we don't know best