Gritty Details

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tonight's Poet Corner: An Unexpected Tragedy

An Unexpected Tragedy
by Belinda Roddie

This wasn't supposed to happen:
Your tiny hands, dipped in gold, squeezed
me in places still raw and tender from a lover's
touch. You drew me in with scary stories of
the Other, dressed in masks on the opposite side
of the stage you set up for yourself. The spotlight
was on you; it could not shine for anyone else.

This wasn't supposed to happen:
You played the tune of authoritarianism well. All
you needed was the trumpets squealing behind you,
announcing your dramatic entrance into the abyss
that you created with your words and jeers.
You reminded all of us that the tapestry we've
woven together, of many colors, can be easily set
on fire and burned to nothing. And it is difficult
to reconstruct a vibrant culture out of ash.

My hands shake, and I am confused. I wonder
if I should drink, but I know the booze will only
make reality seem like a mirage. But the mushroom
cloud still rises from the ruined landscape. It poisons
everything in its path. My face heats up like the planet,
and I am choked by it all. All the screaming. All
the taunting. Dragon's breath stewing in a small
room, thick enough to bottle and swig in case you
want to feel hate bubble in your gut.

Could this be a dream, please? You take your bow,
but the curtain does not drop. It hangs suspended
above your head, exposing me to the farce that
plays before my very eyes. The actors are all pale,
their fingers dancing along their throats, cackling
at their perceived fortune. Outside, the panic brews
in the stomachs of the innocent.
This wasn't supposed to happen.

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