Marching Down Division Street

                              Leaving Kingston
                              driving up Division Street toward the highway
                              up ahead a police car cruises
                              slowly, lazy red light circling on the roof
                              and behind it, walking toward me
                              a parade
                              though parade hardly seems the right word
                              no floats or bands or clowns
                              just people, young and old
                              in their Sunday best (it is Sunday in fact)
                              marching down Division Street
                              some carry banners
                              a canopy on poles
                              elaborate, rich, deep colours, golden trim
                              the people are smiling, but sober
                              a sense of solemnity, not quite festivity
                              a religious ritual of some sort
                              then I’m past it, the parade falling behind me
                              moving slowly down the street.

                              Just up the road
                              I see another parade
                              (a weekend of celebrations it seems)
                              yet still no floats, no bands
                              off to the side, standing in line:
                              have they travelled their route
                              or are they waiting their turn?
                              Tanks, a dozen or more
                              squat and implacable
                              soldiers, male and female, young
                              rifles slung over shoulders
                              walk alongside the line of machines
                              or stand in groups of two or three —
                              they have no banners
                              no elaborate canopy on poles
                              there are no rich colours, no gold
                              only the tired brown-green
                              they are not wearing sober Sunday suits
                              or pretty dresses
                              they are the same colour as the tanks
                              they will march behind
                              down Division Street
                              or elsewhere.



Marching Down Division Street was first published in inwords Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 3.