Amy Gerstler

Ruler of Everything
June 24, 2016 Gerstler Amy

Ruler of Everything


The Ruler of Everything proclaims blood-colored

the new royal hue. The Ruler of Everything

urinates boldly, annointing the world

of visible things. The Ruler of Everything’s

searing gaze is a white hot ray of prey-fascination,

yet he’s prone to explosions of spontaneous

playfulness. When he relaxes, you see

in his eyes his life as a child, starved

on the thug-governed streets of Juarez.


Each day of his reign the Ruler of Everything

sings songs of action. He drenches his weapons

in the blood of the dead beast. He sighs and groans

and whines melodiously, to oohs and aahs and

mass applause, one of the truly musical among us.

Still just a pup, he weeps in his sleep,

dreams he is late for howling practice,

but can’t find the field where the lesson is held.

Oh, Great Defender, Fate of the Nation,


Perfect Incarnation of What a Leader

Should Be: the world’s tumult has pummeled

and roughened you, pitilessly.

And yet you’ve been crowned

The Ruler of Everything. You’re on everyone’s god-list.

You treat the dead beast with considerable deference.

And this is exactly as it should be,

just as the gods would have decreed,

were there gods we believed in, other than Thee.

Amy Gerstler’s book of poem Index of Women will be published by Penguin Random House in April. Her previous books of poetry include Dearest Creature, Ghost Girl, Medicine, and Crown of Weeds. Her book of poems Bitter Angel received a National Book Critics’ Circle Award in 1991. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. These include The New Yorker, Poetry, Paris ReviewAmerican Poetry Review, several volumes of Best American Poetry, and The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry. She teaches at University of California at Irvine.