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Friday, August 26, 2005


by Sean Lause

The crowd cheers as the first line appears.
The summer’s pride, like the sweet, fragile air
lightning leaves in its wake,
their uniforms fresh and crisply white,
their eyes brimmed with visions
of harems whirling in honey sands.
The crowd longs to touch their prophesies,
but their sidewalk lives lack the kindred power.

The crowd sucks its straws in awe
of the men of Fall with wiser eyes
and graver steps
who refuse to be called a “Syndrome.”
Then the third line steps forward
with less assurance, hair tainted silver,
a look of shock almost comical,
that the betrayed often wear.

Then, while the pale watchers almost turn,
a row of invisible men drifts by
forgotten, though some sense a whispered hope,
since invisibility shimmers with pain.
The crowd excites, ecstatic with beer and popsicles,
as the greatest pass by, remembering proud,
in their eyes a still nobility, flags wagging,
guarding with honor the gold so once believed.

A brass band bangs by
to end the parade---
But then come the uninvited,
and the crowd shivers silent
as before them creep the faded green,
faces like closed fists, necks wrinkled dough,
stumping, as they try to gum the words
of a song no one can remember.

And last, driving the coward crowd retreat,
stagger the warriors of the Lost Cause.
The sun bleeds cancer bones. Overhead
hang the spent ghosts of wasted guns
and a star-crossed flag, blown with holes.
Their heads gleam like hysterical doorknobs.
Beast moans in hollow mouths, hands mere spiders,
their grey coats bleeding pride and sand.

And that night in all the town,
not one child dreamed of old renown.

Sean Lause has published criticism in The Winesburg Eagle: The Official Publication of the Sherwood Anderson Society, fiction in The Mid-American Review and Liquid, Ohio, and poetry in Poetry International, The Minnesota Review, Zillah, European Judaism, Arsenic Lobster, The Blue Collar Review, Bathtub Gin, Epicenter, RUAH, Miller’s Pond, Skidrow Penthouse, Paper Wasp and Frog Pond. He teaches English, Speech and a course in the Holocaust at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio .