Aida Bode

he wasn’t a dictator
when I was little;
he was this face
on a portrait
decorating the living room wall,
right next to my parents’ photo

he was that god
to whom none prayed
yet, every one feared,
the one who
kept an invisible ax
in his mouth
which I imagined
was always bloody.

I had heard my grandpa say
that tongue has no bones
yet bones it breaks
and I thought it was only
his tongue, no one else’s.

oh, no, he was never a dictator,
not when I was a kid;
he was just this almighty
evil, who had turned
all saints into whispers
and put god himself
in a corner without paradise or hell
holding in his hands
a food stamp for weekly
portions of oil and salt.

He became a dictator
when I forgot god in that
dark turn (of events)
all dried up and naked
never to see another food stamp again

but somehow, the portrait
remained on the wall.
I removed my parents’ photo
and placed it in the same corner
where god disappeared.