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The whole town was in
the Memorial Day parade
old vets young vets war horses
scouts bands clowns on bicycles
They waited for the audience
arriving unaware on the Greyhound bus
because a parade
needs an audience
at least someone on the sidelines
cheering and crying for
the brave little parade.
The passengers cheer on cue
knowing their roles
in between tunafish casserole conversations.

At Christmas time
the bus driver is late
the roads are slick
He doesn't want to stop for
the little Christmas parade
But the parade is too smart for him.
The parade jumps out in front of the bus
stopping it and then runs down the road
fast because its forty below
and the parade is cold.
The bus follows, warm and angry,
part of the parade now.

A reluctant jester sneaks off the bus
hides in a patch of foggy steam
and watches for awhile with
the ghosts of audiences past
two Cheshire Cats and
the statue of a Civil War hero
before slipping back onto the bus.

The bus, still thinking it's a
rolling sideshow audience
ambles down the interstate
bleating its horn sometimes
at little cars and diesels and hay trucks
and old farm pick ups with baling wire
sticking out the back.
The ravens on the telephone wire
watch the cars and trucks and the bus
and the puffs of black smoke
and listen to the horns
and snatches of tunafish casserole conversation.
They sometimes wish
the parade would just go away.

Two parades pass in the night
and stare at each other

- Dandelion de la Rue

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