The Light

We wait for the bombs to feel us out
pass the potatoes, say grace over the odd angels
that have watched over us for years
through the stained-glass windows of old churches
through the eyes of Orthodox iconography. This is a moment of peace
that will never come again.

Through the windows, the strength of distant concussions
fold trees in half, take grain silos and snap power lines.
We turn up the gas, clear the dinner table
I put a knife in your hand, just in case.

The sky grows as dark as if seen through closed eyes
windows shake and fly apart. Hands
over their eyes, I stretch out next to the children
tell them it’s just the sound of His voice, there’s nothing
to be afraid of, it’ll all work out in the end.

Dirty American Poem #3

the soldiers didn’t seem to care
that the hotel we were staying in
was haunted. they didn’t seem even a little interested
when we told them chairs were moving all by themselves
that we could hear voices whispering in the bathroom pipes
that the clocks had all stopped exactly at midnight.

the people in the streets outside
didn’t seem to care either, seemed more concerned with
pushing back against the soldiers, standing ground
in front of their own crumbling, possibly haunted hovels
seemed more annoyed than anything when we
said we needed to find another place to stay.

The Last Days of the Flu

We move like dying butterflies against each other
chitinous wings rasping dry in final death throes
like dead leaves pushed along the sidewalk by the wind
like dead scales sloughed off against a rock.

I hear my jagged breath echoing your own feeble one
lungs rattling like an engine running dry but refusing to die
gears almost catching but slipping again and again
if I stay here too long, here, next to you
I might catch it, too.

In the Primate Building

The monkeys stare solemnly back at me through the glass
and I know my days are numbered, that something awful
is going to happen to me soon. I’m not sure why
I know this. I’m also not sure if this something horrible
is confined only to me, or if the marmosets
mean something apocalyptic for all of humanity.

Back home, I scour the Internet for prophesies
involving harbinger monkeys, telepathic monkeys
psychic monkeys. There are just too many results
for me to go through them all. There are just too many
other people out there that are also
terrified of things monkeys have told them

for the messages to not be real.

Morning at the Beach

His tiny hands dig in the sand and I wince
as his fingers unearth everything from concreted cat shit to
thin bones with greasy feathers still attached but they’re
all treasures to him, he shows them all to me and I
nod in appreciation at every single one.

The waves come in and sweep his findings off into the ocean,
the pile of chewed-up crab claws and fish bones
the cloudy bulbs of kelp fruit and half-dissolved plastic bags.
He cries for me to run out into the waves, after the detritus
I make a big show of stepping into the cold water, pretend to look,
shake my head at his loss.