Monday, February 3, 2014

After the End of it All


After the end of it all there was life

Strewn like biblic seeds: some on the stones to wither,
Some in the field to flourish, some in the path
Of steel boots, to be trampled by stronger wills.

There was life, and little else. Back in the dark,
We scratched and held tight to what we found,
Learned simple love and quiet nights,
Stared at the stars, dreamed of the dead.

Bad days to be city folk
Or not own a gun. Strange days
To be in debt or hate your spouse,
That week the earth began to unpeel.

When the dam broke, the car bombs
Froze the airport, the banks exploded,
The mummies jumped from their wrappings,
A world died and was born.

Misery is the day you gum beetles,
Unsure which of you is biting,
Toothless. Your doctor and dentist are dead,
Fermenting in town with the rest.

To return to work, drop off the kids,
Be stuck in traffic, or have light
When you flick the switch. The office is gone.
The girls were stolen by bandits.

When there is nothing, what do you do?
Search for food, sow your backyard,
Or steal bread? When the silo burned
I walked six miles to eat my neighbor's dog.

In four days, I walked back to eat my neighbor.
I could not watch. I boiled his parts
And chewed the broth. I washed the pot
In the river at night when I'd not see floating bones.

All the shooting I'd soon regret
When I ran out of bullets.
The dog: I had no other means,
But my neighbor I should have smothered.

I hoped to wait him out. By his window
I bent like a spider. Sleep, my prey, sleep.
The more I watched, the more he looked human,
As I waited for his breathing to slow.

Surely he would fight, grab my wrists.
The pillow would show his face, masked
For the dance. I'd see white hollows, the shape,
His mouth frozen in a shout.

If I felt his hands on my arms, warm
When I came to snuff him, I'd never do it.
Not that way. I shot off his head,
My face squeezed shut, and cooked him downstairs.


From Growing at the Sun