by Sasha Fletcher
he came down from the carriage house to find us gathered
around everything we had ever lost
which we had made into a bonfire.
just that instant,
returned from nepal
with news of artificial glaciers.
someone’s wife had packed a series of orange slices
which were being distributed as mouth guards,
to safeguard our mouths.
can things be done for us?
can we be made comfortable?
we asked who said the evening news was a suitable replacement for bedtime stories?
and demanded to know who was responsible for the myth of self-sufficiency
and why must we all be better harder faster stronger?
would everybody just mind backing the fuck up?
the president took to the podium,
and addressed us.
“my fellow americans,” he went,
“who said that anything is ever really lost?
is it so hard to think everything just moves around when we’re not looking?
why must a myth be anything other than an explanation?”
after a pause,
where he was very dignified,
“questions I am better at asking:
why did it take so long for coffee to taste so good?
what should be made for dinner tonight?
does anyone have a cigarette?”
we muttered, and awed.
he told us
“keep your distance.
look, a convertible is approaching us, with what appears to be great urgency.”
and it was, but we could not see who was driving.
they fired at the president several times and shot him
first in his leg
then in his good eye
then in his ribs
and then got him right in the neck,
which exploded with blood
as he stood very still
and then, very quickly,
we looked to the distance.
our hearts stood still
for they were exhausted,
and we felt overwhelmed by possibility.
very quietly, and with little notice,
some children had gathered.
they looked at us,
at our science.
we looked to the president
with thoughts about his teeth.
those children stood stock-still
and stared out into the night
with expressions on their faces
we had every intention to read.
we again wondered what we would tell our wives
and would emergency elections be held?
was there anything that could have been done?
could this sort of thing be placed on our permanent records?
and where are these records, anyway?
we had, communally, never seen them.
we had also never seen a puppy kicked
or a tree fall in a forest outside of the tv.
someone asked what that had to do with anything.
they were quickly silenced.
we wondered what was for dinner
and how he had managed to keep his teeth so clean
and free of cavities.
the children slipped drawings
of their favorite convertibles
into our pockets.
their mothers called to us
that dinner was ready
that dinner was on the table
that dinner was cold
that where have you been?
with one hand we tried to illustrate
the entire history of country music
while the other flipped furiously through the yellow pages,
for we had appointments to make.
it was in all the papers and on all the televisions and all over the internet
it had been mentioned in several text messages
and hurried phone calls.
some of us did not vote for him, this is true,
but even they think of him like an iceberg.
as life unfolded like the evening news,
there were those of us who still had a meal to plan
because there are only so many take-out restaurants in the world
which is a sad fact to come to terms with.
questions were being asked
about what should be done
about those assassins.
rumor had it they had tunneled to some foreign land
where our influence could never fully extend
it was said you could look into their eyes
and see the face of evil.
we tried to explain how looking into their eyes was no different
than looking into anyone else’s
and various ideas about ways
to make an extradition treaty with colorado.
we strove to be reasonable here.
somewhere behind us,
a chinese food restaurant was being established
with rumors of a buffet
and a lunch truck.
there were those who did not believe it,
but when presented with certain facts
who were we to argue?
we had thoughts on this,
which we recorded
directly to a portable home stereo system
with a plastic handle
and the children.
we imagined them finding it later in life
when they have grown to become anything they ever dreamed of
if only we had any idea what that might be.
sometimes, we felt if it weren’t for christmas lists
we might not know them at all.
[Sasha Fletcher is an artist and writer living and working in Philadelphia. He also runs a blog.]
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Tuesday, July 1, 2008
by Sasha Fletcher