a political parable in a time of crisis

A rolling mass of hunger, all teeth and throats and thirsty mouths, chain lightning leaping from jaw to jaw, a voice like twenty brace of hounds a-questing and the pure knowledge of god. From the ground, pressed into the dust of the earth, choked with protest, God-Strengthens the breadmaker he cries out against it, against the weight settling heavy on his hips.

“Rise,” it commands him, voice a tongue of fire dancing in his ears, and so he rises, a fish dangling at the end of a hook. “Come with me and speak to me of what you have seen.”

“I have seen,” he says, croaking, rusty with unuse, lungs thick with cobwebs, “a plain of bones and a city green with forgetting. I have seen fires burning in the high places. I have seen summer and winter and summer again, a world unconcerned with cities and roads both.”

It catches him up into the sky and shows him the world spread out below. It takes him up, up, to where he can hardly breathe except what it breathes into him, to where the sky curves away beneath them and a great blackness rises above. The world is small and perfect, unmarked and circular and entire. He quails, weeps, hides his eyes.

“Fall,” it commands him, so he does, down into the blue, down to the clouds, down to the earth beside the road like a river falling into a lake. With a deep and worn-out sigh, he rolls to his other side, seven years down, seven more to go.