Theatre of War

The ground lay stark under the moonlight. The target boards in the distance were incongruously radiant, hovering like little phalanxes of fireflies. I inhaled. With the handguard propped up by a sandbag and my person stretched prone upon the concrete, I peered through the scope, fixed the cross hairs on the illuminated torso and released a round into the night.

Turnover that morning was high,
and the understudies arrived just in time
to detonate the fourth wall, the fifth column,
thirty, sixty, a hundred times over,
like sandbox trees in fertile soil.
I had for my debut the
mustard seeds from home, from
the Mother,
now withering under the applause
and the flashing lights, lights.
Was this the cue for the trapdoor? One thousand,
crouch down in a foetal position; two thousand,
lace your fingers over the nape of your neck;
three thousand, four thousand, five – cut to black.

A duvet now hangs over the proscenium,
the last pantheon of forgotten protagonists.
But I like to think they’re still close,
swearing, smoking, standing sentinel.

“That’s all for today, folks. Please remember to read chapters three and four for next week’s lecture.”

The curtain rises.

“You’re leaving.”
“Because it’s time.”
“Because it’s best.”
“And you’re sure about this.”
“And you’ll be happy.”
“I hope so. I don’t know.”
“And you’ll call.”
“Well, I know you will. Every year.”


Header photo by Ryan Quek

About the Author

Jonathan is a freshman from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. He remains undecided as to his major, though he is interested in literature, politics, language, time and memory. Some of his favourite authors include Dickens, Orwell, Ishiguro and Kundera. You probably haven’t seen him before: he’s usually firmly ensconced in his room.