A Conga Line of Madness

Jim Stallings

Detritus from the political fallout had settled like fiery ashes onto the landscape, the black snow of summer that year.

The whispered encouragement of enemies portraying patriotic postures, etched on coins, sculpted on parade grounds, painted on murals--all a nasty business of reputation maintenance.

And in the end, the knife in the back, the frieze in black marble of allies wrestling for the fallen standard.

Pathetic felons of honesty and freedom.

On the morrow, new faces appear and walk round the memorials to the martyrs, betrayed by their own.

A blue sky, a gentle wind, a field of yellow and white flowers--that rich earth, that cool mountain wind, those memories of home and peace, will-o-the-wisp.

Look, there's nothing beautiful to the victims, their bones heaped in ditches, their rattling nights enough to awaken the sleep of the still living...like bad xylophones beating out a fierce rhythm, beckoning the next generation to murder their friends and neighbors...

Foul smoke pours from the ground and on moonlit nights across the ridge dance the mismatched silvery bones, horribly cobbled parodies of human possibility, their hollow fleshless nightmare, a conga line of madness.