The sky delivered a bewildering blue day after day. The blossom frothed too soon. We woke in the small hours – startled – as if we’d dreamed we were lying in crosshairs, as if now nothing could be taken as read. Overnight the old had vanished, the furniture of home been rearranged. Predators sold off their holdings in airlines. Biopharmaceuticals with beautiful names made landfall. Only the early birds cottoned on to the cashing out, the cashing in.
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From inside our structures of feeling we listened to neighbours, the sirens, the squeal of a gate, the binmen working their way down the street, the empty playground. We learned to re-learn minutes and distances. There grew an unspoken understanding that we were losing more than we could see going. Then from our seats in the theatre of numbers, we watched the tragic drama of eugenics play out in graphs. Confusions were seeded, privacies filched. Exhaustion settled like dust on the kind. We noticed the encouragements to dislike China become more cheerfully insistent.
The swifts screamed in. New leaves fluttered in the only crowds. The first rose was ahead of itself but we the people lagged behind while the frail died in thousands. People wed to the idea they could still take advantage of the passing hours to better themselves merely followed the lead of their leaders, whose barefaced intent was to steal a march. All that was metaphor returned to the body. Permissions were given. Parties broke out. The street found itself applauding the dead.
Then the costs were too great to be counted. Steadfast gatherers of facts lost their minds, scientists the prize of their innocence; the troubled exchanged their messages like birds, at dawn. We flocked to the sea. Impunity smirked at the podium, on the record, in uniform, on camera, in front of the skull and crossed bones. News of the decomps was allowed to seep out. The borders were closed to shore up the fears. Payrolls were purged, bullies fully insured. We reeled through June. The roses exploded.