Headless Horsemen

No one signs first, no one signs last, their names ring the letter of protest like a herd of cattle turning their back to the wolves. There is no least element in the set, no weakest member, no place for induction to gain a toothhold and start whittling down to methodical emptiness.

It will not work — power is not so fastidious as logic. When no member is first, all are first; when each trailers another, all lag behind. They are picked off regardless, arbitrarily, universally, all scheduled for reprisal, if not later, then now. The firings never end and the office empties out, the lights are shut down row by row to conserve energy, until no one remains, neither worker nor manager, just the shape of a company left pressed into the world like the echo of a body in a well-worn mattress.

But if there is no logic to their winnowing, there is no certainty of their removal, either. Like mushrooms after a rain, they rise again, fruiting bodies reaching toward the air from a sprawling underground network that neither the hunter nor the pig can reach. Burn the forest down and they will rise from the ashes, first to burn, first to return, an unbroken circle where spirits dance.

A movement without a leader cannot be slowed by assassination.