Wings Press, San Antonio, Texas


, by Margaret Randall

Everyone Lied

We wanted to make the world a better place
but everyone lied,
fought power with humble flesh,
blood, brilliance,
and the luck of the innocent.

The enemy’s lies assaulted us, their language
diminished our numbers,
turned us against one another,
touched lovers, confused our sense
of who we were and why.

And we lied about them, claimed they were
drug dealers and murderers,
all their food poisoned,
all their streets unsafe.
Then we lied about our own,
sowed serious doubt, set fatal traps.

Of course we lied to the CIA
and others who tortured us,
but also to our parents, children,
and those who came to us
for truth.

We lied by omission, convinced we must
reveal no contradiction.
The real story could only benefit
those who would destroy the dream,
who wanted us dead.
Accounts to be settled later.

We lied to protect our own and then
to justify not protecting our own.
We lied on a need to know basis,
parroted our leaders
even when they pretended genocide away.

We failed to question his disappearance,
100 knife-wounds in her body,
followed our leaders who lied to us,
then lied to ourselves:
the pain that changed our molecules.

Until later turned out to be the promise
we could not keep, a tired ghost
destined to wander hollow-eyed:
the lie that would come back to haunt
a sacrifice too big to name.