Alternate History Ep. III

Planet 3 and Planet 4  (2018). Acrylic on bowling balls. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

The Last Confederate State


Beginning again…


By some treachery

early assassination

military fumble or act of Providence

the war was abated just after it began

and the free and slave states

coexisted for a century and more

until the tenuous status quo

lashed together by the horror

of those first few days after Antietam

when the ledger of principle was displayed

in red with green fields tred to black

and no one sought to dare anymore

the wielder of the scythe

who takes equal relish in mowing down

one’s brother and other

until the industrial power of the north

and the riches it produces

became the glitter that

arouses the kindle in the cold of the soul.


The border states were first

for they could lay blame

on the proximity of a commercially thriving neighbor

eager to trade

but soon others joined in

voting themselves into the fold

as they did then

until the ninth year of the new century

when the last confederate state

prepared to rejoin the union.


The Secretary of State of Alabama

had to certify the referendum to

make the tally official but

he suffered threats from those on the right

incensed at the prospect of losing a war fought

for a hundred and fifty years

and pressure from those on the left

impatient after waiting on affirmation

for a hundred and fifty years

and distance from his family of nostalgic Alabamans

and the ire of Governor Roy Moore

elected in a last flush of fury

over the impending capitulation

and holding power in a broken place

where the power was about to go out

and Governor Moore was furious.

The north had just elected a half-black president.

So Moore takes his Secretary of State to court

to enjoin the certification of the referendum

and loses enough times to extinguish venues judicial

but wins more political support with each battle

reviving the last days of a war that wasn’t fought

where serial retreats belie a certain swagger

that seeds legend, sympathy, fealty, and resentment

so that when the deed is finally done

and the state at last rejoins the union

a movement is sprouted

with most of its activity extending underground

where it threatens for a century

all that might blossom in the south.


Danny Grosso