one: nuclear war
we seal ourselves in iron coffins deep
below the earth and call ourselves lucky
to not be the incinerated, the shelterless
with their shadows blasted from
their bodies. you’re painting the
bunker ceiling blue, remembering distance
and finding only walls. i count cans of
beans and tuna, mark off another day
under june’s calico kitten. it’s a cat-astrophe,
the calendar tells me. you’re drawing the
sun now, a pale hole in the sky, paint
bleeding and bleeding: you’re too impatient
to let it dry.
it’s just like a shitty sci-fi movie,
you tell me. we’re miles deep in
the forest, maine or quebec, and
the emergency radio has only sung static
for the past three days. who would
have thought, you say, except everyone
expected this. they track us by our
body heat, our scent. they come in ships
white as lightning, shattering
the sky. it’s just us they want;
the black-eyed squirrels and
dusty sparrows stay untouched
in the cedar-shadows.
we keep moving.
three: climate change
the dead ocean glares in the sunlight,
blind and acidic. i pick seashells from
the sand, offer the knives of their broken
edges to you. it’s long dead, whatever
once made a home here. the wreckage
of our past comes ashore with the salt:
bottle caps, a single blue rain boot, a baby doll
head with one eye closed. the sea licks her
solemn hunger out over the beaches
washed pale by noon.
when they close the borders and
ground all the airplanes, i take
the breathing mask off and kiss you.
it’s been weeks without skin-touch,
sterile weeks of failed quarantines and
news reports and hazy prayers
rising from the church across the street
through the bell-tolled air.
you’re hot with fever, less terror
than tremble: just days left, but it’s
more burning than it’s worth to
let you die untouched.