Sam Burt




A Consensus

One bright morning in December, the court agreed unanimously that:
the former prime minister was two months dead;
he was guilty of treason in absentia;
he had committed suicide while awaiting trial;
he had died suddenly in prison;
he had kicked himself to death;
his fingernails had been seen in the Ministry of Interior;
the rest of him was missing;
he had plotted too soon;
he had acted too late;
his coup had been thwarted;
the revolution had been saved;
poetry would be safe again;
he had been an unexceptional figure;
his achievements were limited;
his ambitions had been impractical;
he felt at home in London and Washington;
he was popular with students;
there were too many students and not enough soldiers;
there were too many students and not enough jobs;
there were too many students;
he was sentenced to death;
his body, if found, be hanged;
long-term investment in industry was needed;
dried fruit exports looked promising;
a factory made three tons of ice a day;
Russians bought 40,000 tons of cement;
Russians paved the capital’s streets;
the former prime minister had no children;
he could not leave politics alone;
his supporters were educated, agreeable men;
and all agreeable men were now in agreement.


*For Mohammad Hashim Maiwandwal (1919-73), the seventh prime minister of Afghanistan.



Sam Burt is a copywriter/tutor in east London. He writes poetry and fiction and has enjoyed success in Writer’s Magazine competitions and the 1000 Word Challenge. His non-fiction has appeared in the Guardian and at Book Riot and the Huffington Post. He is working on a novel.

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