Six years of peace had not been good for business.
The war ministry was worried.
That there would be more cutbacks to both funding
and personnel.

Hawkish old men tried to imagine themselves
without their desks.
Wandering aimlessly through the streets
rubbing bags of crushed leaves
over themselves.

Talking of wooden composts
the way one would of Jean Harlow
in Bombshell.

Some began referring to these as the thin years.
The more enemies you invented, the more the public
disbelieved you.

It became hard to instill fear in anyone.
All the old tropes had failed.
So that when the president was shot dead
by another lone gunmen with
three goofy names,
people just laughed, said they saw that one coming
from a mile away

and elected a new

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Setu, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review. Read other articles by Ryan.