Lordy, who knew James Comey could be so poetic? The former FBI director might present a sober, folksy figure in person, but in print, he’s a master of evocative imagery and enigmatic phrases—at least when those phrases are sliced and spliced by an actual poet.

In “Comey: Cut-up,” first published in the literary journal Scoundrel Time, word maestro Alissa Quart has reconfigured Comey’s Senate Intelligence Committee testimony as free-form verse. No fuzz, we promise!

— Lizzy Ratner


Comey: Cut-Up

And then the nature
of the person

To lift the cloud

Criminal in nature


Grandfather clock

A whole lot of personal pain

Lifting the cloud

Being somebody who loves
this country

These were lies

The nature of its work

As a cloud

Grandfather clock

Lie about the nature

Meant by the cloud

Turning over rocks

Grandfather clock

That’s wonderful and painful

Big messy wonderful country

The cloud