John H. Bennett, Jr. Prize
Spring 2014
Brian Slusher

Reenactment

Charleston, SC 12/20/10

Outside the South Carolina Secession Gala,
how lovely the women are in satins
and brocades, white-gloved hands securing
lace shawls, and how elegant the men
in sober top hats and high snowy collars
as they parade past the protestors who
shout and wave yellow signs: SC Suffers
From The Confederacy of the Mind.

From the street, I can hear the strains of
Dixie, and imagine the whirl of hoopskirts,
the tap of silver-capped canes, the flutter
of ivory fans. The chaplain of Secession
Camp #4 scowls from a ballroom window,
wonders why the loud mouths beyond just
won’t let it go, as a period waltz flows
through the hall, instead of the rattle of
actual chains.
©2014 Brian Slusher