James Allen Hall

Portrait of My Mother as the Republic of Texas

After my mother won independence in 1836,
she dysfunctioned as her own nation, passed laws,
erected monuments to men who would never again
be slaves to order and pain.
Remember the Alamo? That was my mother.
Then in 1845 that always-pleasing church-mouse voted
for annexation. My mother had too many selves and the desire
to enslave them all. Pregnant, she was forced
to become the twenty-eighth child of the American family.
Lone star no longer.
She joined a lineage of jacked-to-jesus hair, developed insatiable
cravings for honey barbecue. Her uncles sauntered up, stroked
the thin lace of her, declared she looked mighty good.
She let them say mighty good while grinning at one another.
Nothing grew then on the prairies of my mother.
Then she learned dissent, demanded men recognize her
sovereignty. She organized an embassy in a silver trailer
shaped like a virgin bullet. My mother renamed herself
The Republic of Texas, unfurled her flag all the way
into the 1980’s, when the Republic kidnapped her neighbors,
Joe and Margaret Rowe, to highlight abuses she’d suffered.
My mother was an American terrorist.
Don’t mess with Texas.
She died in the standoff. My new mother was elected
by a landslide and moved to Cuero, a city whose largesse
depends on retirement pensions. My peaceful mother
holds weekly rallies: “What do we want? When do we want it?”
Her lipstick stains the bullhorn mauve.
In her spare time, my mother receives foreign dignitaries
and does dry-wall. The Global Conglomerate of my Mother
opened her first staffed consulate in Barcelona.
She insists visitors speak American.
Currently, the Republic is facing lean times.
The former treasurer neglected May’s utilities,
refuses to return the funds. Pledge your support today.
My motherland is standing by
the rotary phone, waiting for your call.
Love her or leave her.

James Allen Hall
“Portrait of My Mother as the Republic of Texas” is from Now You’re the Enemy (University of Arkansas Press, 2008).