A Straw Poll for Regime Change

cornby S.E. Casey

Ironically, it is the crow’s call, haughty and triumphant, that alerts me of the end.

He staggers out of the cornfield. His legs bend this way and that, knees hinging in every direction. Impossibly, he remains upright and ambulatory although I suppose he doesn’t have much weight to support. His button eyes loll all over his head in a deranged manner; a silly slash of a grin is stitched onto his weathered face. The overalls he wears are undone over one tragically dislocated shoulder. They aren’t in any danger of falling down, however, the other strap wrapped around a makeshift clavicle.

Something glints in his hand, a metallic reflection of the late afternoon sun. I don’t know how those frayed, blonde fingers manage to hold it, but I know it to be one of the trowels that either Sherry or I had misplaced in the fields over the years.

I should scream.

But I am silent.

I should run.

But I stand still.

I should lock the door to the house, or at least warn Sherry and little Mary-Ann inside.

But I do nothing.

He comes toward me in a most unstealthy fashion, stumbling past the swing set, clumsily negotiating the over-watered lawn and tripping up the steps of the porch. However, I only regard him in the periphery. Despite his proximity and the flash of rusted, wet steel, he fails to prompt any reaction. I can only keep staring out at the scarecrow pole in the middle of the cornfield—empty for the first time since I mounted it thirty years ago.


S.E. Casey writes of distorted worlds full of dimly lit doors where there are no exits. These entrances all lead to those existential realms where “Hell is other people”.
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