The Scapegoats of Maple Street

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This is a social commentary/sci-fi poem loosely based on The Twilight Zone’s “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
I’m watching from the thin space between the curtains shielding the picture window, wondering why nearly the whole neighborhood is standing out there in the middle of the street, their voices booming senseless accusations at this time of night.
 
The narrow street is crowded with men, women, and children surrounding the one man wearing the sweater vest—the one named Joe, who’s telling everyone to “calm down/hold on” with hands raised.  
 
Another man points a finger in Joe’s face, shaking his head and screaming profanities before leading the mob of suburban gangsters to a house across the street, looking for the man who’s always on his porch staring up at the sky like he’s waiting for the stars to fall.
 
The poor man lives across the street from us, so I watch the mob leader storming up the porch, hear him pounding on the door with the strength and fury of two policemen. But from what I can tell, his porch light’s off and his own curtains blush against the darkness surrounding the rooms I notice, so I know he’s nowhere near home.
 
Praise God.
 
The mob rushes from houses to cars to street lamp as lights ignite, flicker, and pass away until they stand on the street, stricken by mere confusion and trepidation. Suddenly, the angry mob leader just grabs somebody’s child and bellows something about little green men and flying saucers. My hearing caught the mob leader’s threat to beat the truth out of this child and a mother’s enraged warning to end his existence if he didn’t take his hands off her baby.
 
I shudder, stepping away from the curtains, from the window, sliding off the couch, onto the floor. See? I told my husband Samuel long ago that Maple Street was a dangerous situation, that we have no business living here as the only ones with skin as brown as cemetery dirt. But he said that we belong here as much as they do, Mavis. That a firm handshake and a cup of coffee will help them recognize that.
 
But if he were standing right beside me, witnessing these people scapegoating one another as if they’ve never even so much as waved to each other, would he extend his hand or still see them as God’s people? Or would he withdrawal and finally recognize our reality for what it is?
 
Speaking of which, Sam’s not home yet because of his stretched hours at the factory. I hope their spirits are slowed with fatigue and boredom by the time his cars turns into the driveway, that he comes through the door before the mob does.
 
 
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