For sale signs randomly appeared, frantic in the wind, futilely waving down every passerby.
Then came a shuttering of windows, doors disappearing behind flats of plywood. Weeds shoved their way above untidy grass that grew without anyone to watch.
Whole neighborhoods emptied into garbage dumps, thrift stores and you-store-it spaces.
Local markets ran out of items for the depraved to steal and so closed their shops to those honest and without transportation.
The caring gathered the children, tried to comfort themselves, breaking the overwhelming truth of poverty into mirrored shards that reflected their confusion.
Town after city, more than seven years of bad luck followed.
Worn shoes and backpacks; buskers and beggars—the shopping cart symbol of the homeless now beyond even their reach. Five years on finds the lower class competing for safe and solitary places, slightly warmer or cooler or drier, to hide their obviousness from the rousters and their fear.
The middle class have closed their homes in favor of living their businesses 24 hours by 7 days a week, washing in the customer bathroom to retain some self-respect, or they’ve moved in with their parents, their children—anyone who has an extra few feet of floor space and could use a few dollars more in their crimped budget.
The Nation of Promise has fallen from a First World power to a First World problem. Hard work and loyalty are antiquated notions for believers of the coming crises. No one has the answer to ‘up’ or ‘out’ or restoring basic decency.
Did civilization begin this way? Or is it that once had, we cannot revert to simpler wants, to satisfying just our needs?
©2012 Sandra Davidson