Slumped in a prickly armchair on a humid summer night, I listened dully to dogs barking with brainless pleasure far away and in this street under the Victory flags. The bronze eagles with spread wings, flightless on walls and porches, reflected the light from stars, as my slow imaginings moved between foreign corpses and these Stars and Stripes of ours. Sweaty, itching, impotent, I scratched my shirtless shoulder and reached for another beer — like a listless President dreaming a new world order from idle thoughts and hot air. Or like someone long inured to the crafted, public lies that lull the popular mind into easy disregard for the coarse realities of imperial command. The Heroes were coming home — but not to me in my chair dogged by barks and disarray; "Welcome!" the flags flapped, "Welcome! you fought for all we hold dear in the mighty USA."
Copyright © 1991 by Tony Connor. Appears courtesy of the author.