Raising an army

The beldams are out today shuffling their carts. Maroon smocks, pointy hats and gloves. The desert cold slows hands to wish bones, easily broken.
Their men are dead. Of course, they’ve outlived them. They wear Christ around their necks. Yell fears to each other across benches because whispers haven’t registered since they gave a damn. They want us all to hear the new story: Burglars in Pennsylvania kill 95-year-old woman for absolutely no reason. Maybe she fought too hard? one cough/laughs, then goes quiet, staring at the jewelry her knuckles have bound.
Youth skates around, holds hands, spends the best years of its life soliciting loyalty from friends. They’ll be old someday. They’ll need an army looking after them. But just in case, they carve their names into trees all over town.

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