Saddam's Final Days | Creative Writing | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Saddam's Final Days



Published March 17, 2004 at 5:00 a.m.

In the end, a "spider's hole"

the coiffed blond newscaster called it with a smirk;

buried alive in a tunnel beneath the desert

where even Allah wouldn't think to look for you.

And what if He did

cast an imperial eye down that ochre hole

to where you were so alone, curled into a ball

reading Crime and Punishment

and recounting cash in the suitcase,

$750,000 in unmarked American currency. O, the ironies

abound to the point of a fever swell;

did you get the chance to think on them

at all? In your desperate effort

to keep ahead of the relentless machine

pursuing you, Allah's favored son,

the supreme commander of

armies and concubines, now reduced

to a dirt well the size of a coffin. What must it

have been like, each dusk when you ventured up for air,

sniffing the dry desert winds like a rabbit

emerging from his lair. Were your eyes ever

unclouded enough to see the stray black bullet holes

in palace windows, English obscenities

spray painted on the marble walls?

When memory took you back to better days,

what exactly did you recall?

Exiled in your own kingdom, exhausted with only Dostoevsky

for company. Did you think of Raskolnikov

pursued by the ghosts of his own obliteration,

or were you better served by his darker brother,

Svidrigailov, dreaming of spiders and angry blonds

pointing loaded pistols at your head?

-- Tony Magistrale