The Vampires

By Michelle Dennehy, Ireland

 The vampires came with money,
 Golden handshakes, glossy smarm,
 And we threw the gates wide open,
 Thinking, What could be the harm?
 We shook their hands,
 We took our seats,
 And never really noticed at those Meet & Greets,
 That there was deadness in their eyes,
 That their skin felt cold,
 That, although they said 
 they were digging down for gold,
 Their palms were smooth,
 Their shoes were clean,
 Their facts were rinsed
 In huge vats of greed.
 We sat like children
 On our tiny, useless hands,
 And we watched t.v.
 While they stabbed and sliced our lands.
 Oh, we weren’t panicked,
 We weren’t manic or alarmed.
 We felt safe.
 It’s not like they were armed:
 They shot no bullets,
 They held no guns,
 All we saw was them doling out the funds
 And smiling
 With those lovely, white teeth,
 And we couldn’t see the poison 
 That was flowing underneath.
 Oh, a spoonful of sugar
 Helps the cyanide
 go down 
 so nicely,
 Or to put it more concisely,
 We were cheap.
 We thought this was our payback
 For the Troubles, for the war,
 For the years of fear
 And balaclava’d wolves outside the door,
 We thought, Hey, we deserve this,
 And we wanted even more.
 When they ripped the mountains open,
 A few old crazies made commotions
 With their placards and their prayers,
 Backwards ways and hippie hair,
 And we cut them down, no mercy,
 ‘Cos they didn’t speak for us.
 We cut them down, no mercy,
 The makers of the fuss.
 In the magic, brand new moment,
 Our truth, it was identical,
 Like tungsten, hard, unbendable.
 It was all so clear, defensible
 Because our hearts matched,
 Like we were loaves from the same batch.
 Cheek by cheek, each thought aligned,
 We looked them in the eye and said,
 Mine. Mine. Mine.
 Their machines worked liked miracles,
 Progress unequivocal,
 Wrenching hunks of rough, grey truth
 From caverns deep.
 Unwilded and bewildered,
 We watched them take our children
 And stuff their throats with rags of thick, black smoke.
 The trees turned black and leafless,
 And all the gold of Croesus
 Couldn’t fix the holy beauty that they broke.
 The dusk crept closer,
 And the air turned cold,
 The machines crushed the earth
 And something stirred inside our souls.
 We remembered.
 The tender petals of the flowers,
 The gentle labour of the bees,
 The ghosts of all the birds
 That had sung in those dead trees.
 Then the vampires swooped,
 And wrapped their slender arms around us.
 The vampires stooped
 To whisper softly in our ears:

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