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.