Art of Intelligence: "The Smallest Betrayal"

As part of our “Art of Intelligence” series we have been collecting poems, prose, art and more from former and current intelligence officers. The following poem is written by John W. Davis, an Intelligence Officer with the US Army.

The Smallest Betrayal

He came to us from the sea, a sailor who swam ashore in Libya.
And we believed the baptism cleansed him.
He confirmed our every hope when it seemed he married a fellow Russian expatriate, lonely, in far away England. Secure, settled, he spoke in tongues what we wanted to believe. For decades, Radio Free Europe never had anyone such as he.
His paramour, and a four year old, came into our lives long after his wife left.
His little girl was as our own child when we watched her for them; the sparkle of things hoped for.
Yet his baptism was that of a shape shifter, his confirmation a side show sham.
Disembodied, he reappeared in Moscow, a carnival magician who walked through the Wall.
He denounced us, renounced us all as frauds, fronts for the imperialist intelligence services.
His friend shed the tears of an actress, until she too was arrested as a spy.
Only the smallest betrayal remained, and she was taken away, too.  


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