Behind the stacks of "We're wicked good"
t-shirts and mugs, the bored teenaged staff
call to one another, "Are we bowling tonight?"
Ticket torn, "watch your step" because the room
is dark except for the glowing red circle
etched with names on the floor.
A taped voice demands
"Do you believe in the devil," spotlight flashing on
the life-sized, red-eyed, plastic and winged beast.
The tale unfolds: lit up manikins, scratchy sound track,
moans somewhat sexual, lurid as a slasher movie
but lacking blood.
Outside the sky seems so clear.
The tour group gathers on the steps and I snap
them all with each of their cameras in front
of the pilgrim statue, stone cape forever blowing
even in this dead calm, and they crowd inwards,
smiling and waving.
This is America I guess:
the awful ordinariness of someone else's tragedy
that needs jazzing up because someone somewhere
is always being tortured or killed, on screen, live,
on you tube, simulated, and after awhile
it becomes this background static of grief,
like our history, like these lifeless parodies
of people who once lived.