Lacrimae Rerum by Howie Good
They killed and killed and piled the bodies up high. In the pile there was someone’s neck, someone’s head, someone’s leg. A neighbor’s child was able to crawl out, I don’t know how. He kept begging for water in a faint voice. It takes a long time to get over everything that’s happened. People no longer know how to talk to each other. But, hey, when I look out my window here, we have wolves and panthers and black bears wandering around. I wonder, are they scared? Are they crying for me?
It doesn’t make any sense, man. First they stole everything, then they burned everything. I thought, “Whoa. What are they doing? Why are they doing that?” It won’t ever be back the same. Maps will need to be redrawn. Fish that can still swim will move out of the way. There will be more blood, more pain. I don’t know exactly when. We will be here for days and days to come. This is the country of the future. We’re so poor we can’t even do anything about it.
Houses abandoned, streets with holes, power lines hanging down in the street. Back in those days, a lot of people died because of the situation. Me, I only lost my job. Things are much better now, though there’s more to this story than what’s been told – assault, depression, bribes, harassment, riot police, floods, pollution, etc., etc. We’ve been living in a very unusual world. Labels in Korean warned, “Smoking is the main cause of cancer and heart disease.” I’ve got to be honest, we’re concerned about everything. That trickle of blood is what gets the imagination going. Are there spies? My housemate argues yes. He’s polishing the silverware and catching his reflection in the knife.
I don’t know where I am. I just know it’s totally different from before. This could be a former crime scene that’s never gotten over its ferocious past. Why can’t I get out of here? Why won’t they get me out of here? What an experience, at one in the afternoon, to be in total darkness.
Howie Good is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize and forthcoming from Thoughtcrime Press, and Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry.