The bloody butchers
by Joe Turrent
The members of the family came to stand before the pyre. The men of ceremony came, their drabnesses concealed within their cloaks. The rough men came. The rough men brought the chair to which the heretic was strapped; inside her skin, the dislocated limbs were heard to gasp as she was hoisted to the scaffold. The greasy wind rose up, and streaked its print against the watching windows.
The children watched the closing clouds as though they watched the mouth of mother whale, consigning everything to darkness. Above the town a smudge of swallows fled into the sky. The husband watched their flight as though he watched their exorcism. As though the disappearing bodies were as evil disappearing. The members of the family drew themselves at once around him.
The men of ceremony drew their robes around their shoulders. When the bishop spoke, he spoke of holy magic. He spoke of words suggesting objects telescopic in their meaning. The bishop spoke of corporeal words, of words stacked up like chairs inside the rooms of one another.
The members of the family whispered steel into the bishop’s words, and ushered each along the dreaming thread into the husband’s ear.
The members of the family whispered family is love. The members of the family whispered family is love. The members of the family whispered family is love. The members of the family whispered family is love.
The children wept. The river gurgled from its bed and spat a clod of yellow phlegm.
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Cover image by Martin Snicer via Flickr (cc)