“[Be sad]” by Sally K. Lehman with art by Andrew Reilly

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Be sad.The world’s a hard place and the governments around us are run by assholes and idiots, and children die and mothers die and sisters and brothers die, and, eventually, we all die.

Be sad.

Be sad for the long lives of asshole politicians.

Be sad that everything alive will die and all we can do is wait.

The branches of the tree outside my window are winter bare. The smaller than small branches coming off them are nearly close enough to my window to scratch. In spring, the branch’s branches will grow green leaves then orange berries that will drop on our cars and be crushed.

Be sad.

Be sad for the tree that loses every year.

Be sad for the short lives of leaves and berries.

The ozone is nearly gone and the pipeline is going through the Dakotas and there are too few icebergs and too many cars. In Paris, the asshole politicians are scared for us all – while they drink their Champagne because it’s only really Champagne if it’s drunk in France.

Be sad.

Be sad for the carbonated non-Champagnes.

Be sad for the lost bubbles that end their long lives up the noses of politicians.

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My daughters argue in the living room about who needs to study for a math final and who doesn’t. My daughters end their arguments with little fuss and move on with their day, move on to their final exams, move on with life. They have learned to argue then move on.

Be sad.

Be sad for the finality of exams.

Be sad for the unenhanced, underappreciated arguments of girls.

Last night the state of Alabama decided by a thin margin to not send a predator to the Senate. The pervert called for a recount because he really wants to go to the Senate. Because the people of Alabama didn’t care about his predations when they elected him judge, and why should they care now? The stories of the girls he molested and tried to molest will be forgotten.

Be sad.

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Be sad for the would-be politician whose past finally caught him.

Be sad for each girl who has become woman who no Alabamian quite believes.

The living room was unlivable because Christmas was coming but family was not. Presents to be wrapped and mailed and received and unwrapped. The cycle of seasons which offer furniture and car companies the opportunity to have continual holiday sales.


Be sad.

Be sad that the holidays are being used as merchandising material.

Be sad that the sales times that are limited are, so far as we can see, limitless.

And Harvey Weinstein will never go to jail. And Donald Trump will never go to jail. And Roy Moore will never go to jail. And Kevin Spacey will never go to jail. And Al Franken was only funny because he wasn’t funny.

Be sad.

Be sad for the victims who had hands thrust up their skirts.

Be sad for the victims who had their breasts amusingly groped.

Be sad for bottoms that were pinched and sperm in planters and good movies that made a bad person rich and inheritances that made a rich person president.

Be sad. Because it’s been a couple thousand years since a nice Jewish guy was hung from a lower case T and the world is spinning forward into the millennium that might see the end of humans.

Because no matter what they say, Earth will continue to spin, continue to circle its sun, continue to pull and push its moon, and the only thing we’re killing

is ourselves

~December 2017

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Sally K. Lehman is the author of the novels In The Fat (which was on the Multnomah County Library list of Best Novels of 2016), The Unit – Room 154, and Living in the Second Tense, as well as the short stories “Barren” and “Small Minutes.” She was the editor/co-editor of the anthologies Bear the Pall, War Stories 2016, and War Stories 2017. Her work can be found in several literary magazines including Vox Poetica, Lunch Ticket and The Coachella Review. Sally is a graduate of the Maslow Family Graduate in Creative Writing Program at Wilkes University, where she has worked on the literary magazine River & South Review as creative nonfiction and manager editor. She lives in the Portland, Oregon, area.

Andrew Reilly has published many photos in Another Chicago Magazine.