A monstrous wounded beast lay along the ruined shore,
bleeding out its toxic fluids in steady bloody gushes.
We all suspected that it would probably be better
if we did not dwell too long on the eventual consequences.
Maybe the poisons would harmlessly dissipate, or whatever.
As we sat around the television, picking at our supper,
we watched in silence, occasionally sighing, as if
we were helpless, and we secretly knew it.
Someone finally changed the channel.
Thank goodness for small mercies.
There was a cooking show, a southern barbeque contest,
and several bearded men who were flirting with obesity
slowly turned large hunks of meat and smiled broadly
as the aromas of burning flesh mixed with smoke
rose from the grill and pleased their nostrils.
Now everyone was feeling relieved.
Appetites improved, and small talk resumed.
Suddenly, without warning, there was an interruption
in the regularly scheduled entertainment.
The leaders were gathered for an impromptu presentation,
but they were all wearing various masks, so you couldn’t tell
what they were really thinking in their hearts.
They were making vague promises that all would be great again,
that matters were under control, that the foreign and domestic
enemies would be thwarted, that there would be more money.
One by one we rose from our seats and brought our trays
back to the kitchen. The lingering question was:
Who would do the dishes?