The Most Anticipated Movie of Summer

In that awaited version, all the people
we lost return to their village with lungs
unscarred. All the doctors and nurses
and emergency personnel stand on the steps
of the capitol to receive a standing ovation.
The markets teem again with produce, but all
the wild animals have been returned to their
original homes. The children who were fed stones
in captivity have grown wings and go around
teaching others what it means to apocalypse:
which is to say, they have become the instruments
of revelation. Every bricklayer, carpenter,
food server, trash collector takes their ease.
And the petulant and inconvenienced? They sit
in long, low schoolrooms, instructed to reconcile
sums: everything they took and took for granted,
all the leaves they turned for personal gain;
all the seams they lined with ill-gotten
light. Their souls writhe at their feet,
unable to wear flesh again like protection.
The national guard patrols each row. No credits
roll; only the lion lifts its head and roars every so
often, and a firing squad idles under the willows.

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