The Signs

When I see those brightly coloured signs on the lawns and alongside the streets, I can’t help but see the bodies, lined in ditches beside those promotions that far outlasted the election period. They stayed in place for nearly a year, until the streets were safe to roam, and in the piles of rubbish that grew ever larger until “society” resumed once again.
The one visible from my window, brandying slogans of peace amongst the desolate killing field, smattered with blood and flesh from machete blows.
When I see the signs, my brain loses all reality, and blood begins to drip along their glossy sides, as opened bodies, their flesh a mix of red blood and the yellow fatty tissue from the layers deep below, spilling out as if demonstrating human anatomy, but devoid of any humanity, an abstract left by brutal predators, stalking the street for prey and leaving the remains as a warning to others who dare cross this path. The flies and vermin pecking at the savoury buffet left for them in the slaughter.
By the end of the war, the bodies were degraded beyond recognition so that no one could or was left to claim them. Static in their place months after ‘normalcy’ had returned. A cold shudder on the morning commute, remembered only by the tattered remains of their clothes and bones hung with dried meat.
When I see the signs, my bowels refuse to let me on the streets, telling me to hide from the brutality outside. An anxious reaction devoid of any rationality. My heart flutters and considers those who waited on line for a vote that left them as little more than roadkill.
When I see the signs, I hide and plan my escape. Because I know that one day, it’s coming again and this time, I will not be caught unaware. I will not let pieces of my flesh be sacrificed to the blade or degraded for another’s enjoyment. I will run this time and not submit to another’s joyful torture for the sake of my own survival.
When I see the signs, I die a little more inside. Knowing that I will submit again, because the hero I imagined in my mind’s eye is not reality when the militias come rolling, and despite the death wish of my brain reliving that experience over and over again, my instinct to survive outweighs my desire to end it all, and I’m left wishing I had the courage to just end it, but I know I’m not courageous. I know that one of those remnants of bodies at the end of my street was partly the result of my own fearfulness, hiding in shame and silencing the tears so that I could live another day. That my scars have faded as their flesh degraded, a memory embellished within my skin, unable to be excised.
When I see the signs, my life shuts down to basic needs and heightened security. Every noise is a threat on my very person, necessitating an immediate response.
When I see the signs, I wish it was me rotting away on the side of the road, a faded memory of a life that once was, because at least this hell would be over.

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