Posts Tagged ‘apocalypse’

One Fermata


the music will last

forever, but who will be

here to dance to it?

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On the last day of the world, I would want to plant a tree.

            —W. S. Merwin



On the last day of the world, I would want

to feed you. Raspberries. Thin slices of apple.

Peaches so ripe they drip down our chins,

down our necks. I would want to sit with you

beneath a tree, no we’ll climb a tree, no

we’ll plant a tree, yes all of these. On the last

day of the world, I want to give myself permission

to feel exactly what I feel, to be exactly who I am,

to shed every layer of should and meet you

that way. Knowing we have only hours left,

could we put down our arguments with ourselves

and each other and find no energy to pick them up again?

On that day, I want us to write the last poem

together and let the writing undo us, let it teach us

how to get out of the way, how to obey what emerges.

Let’s run outside, no matter the weather, and praise

the light till the light is gone, and then praise the dark.


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If without warning the world were to end
at 6:05 tonight, I would like to be holding your hand
at 6:02 and sitting on the back porch
in the low angled gold August light.
Maybe we would be talking about the birds—
what kind of swallows do you think those are?
And you would say, violet green swallows,
and even if we were not sure it was correct,
it would give us pleasure to know the answer.

We would lean back and watch as they keel
through the air just above our heads.
And at 6:04, we would not know to be concerned
about what would happen next. It is sometimes
better that way, not knowing, I mean,
especially when the cosmos in the garden
are just now in an uprising of bright pink bloom
and the grass in the field is taller
than our heads and if we breathe in
deeply, it smells as if the rain is about to come.

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Least Likely

Her finger had already
pushed the red button

beneath the raised letters
on the gray steel panel: APOCALYPSE.

The button had been glowing, warm
to her touch, and her finger

traced slow circles on it
before she said out loud

to herself, “Let’s play.”
She had always been

such a good little girl.
The button gave no resistance.

She felt no regret.
The destruction wasn’t real yet.

In fact, right here
in this sweet remove, before

the crumbling, before
the mess, before the weeping,

the loss, the ash, my god
she had never felt so very alive.

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Not flame, not ice
not locust swarm,
not volcanic ash,

not avian flu
nor nuclear war
not by meteor crash,

oh, our world will end
my love, my friend
in days or ages hence

not by rage nor plague
nor greenhouse gas
but our indifference.

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The stars will not
appear tonight.
The plums will not
release their pink plum scent
when their thick dark skin
is broken. The grass will need
not be mowed tonight,
nor the lamb’s quarters pulled
from the garden. The birds
will not require shushing
tonight as the baby needs not
be cradled to sleep. And I
shall not kiss your lips tonight,
nor straighten your rumpled collar.
And the paint on the wall
will not need repainting.
The car need not be waxed.
No one will be here
to mourn or to cheer,
or to say that it happened at all.

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don’t blame me
if the apocalypse comes
before I’m done dusting


that’s been taken from me
was first given to me


how easily we say
these words, next week,
as if it will come


why we plant seeds—
because we’ve made a life
out of old tomorrows


even though
it’s the thousandth rainbow
still running to look

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Counting Blessings

Three degrees,
snow on the drive
the ninth stargazer

lily opened
and there was no

no horsemen four,
no asteroid,
no anti-Christ.

That made this first
cold day of winter
very, very nice.

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