Last night everything froze.
Yesterday, it rained and rained.
All the water pooled together
and when the Sun went down,
Earth remembered its seasons.
And everything froze.
I tried driving home
’neath the dark, starless abyss—
I wondered if the blackness had frozen
too, and if the Sun would melt
the sky when it rose again
if it rose again
—but I lost it in the ice
somewhere by the airport.
I could tell because of the glow
on the low, static clouds.
Similarly frozen. A plane
just a few hundred feet
above the icy highway,
untouching the Tarmac.
People in the windows were waving
frantically; some jumped.
And like me, none of them
were going to make it
to their destination. I thought
maybe it’s better this way.
No more dreams or promises—
snuggling in cold covers at night
waiting for warm morning.
Rooftop apex, shingled out, down.
No sun—no sky.
I, crouched, hunched over, peaking at gravity
from the highest point.
No snow—no fear.
Leafless trees cackle as skeletons,
brown, soaked in gray.
Posed at the edge, I, a seabird twisted,
eyes diving for fish.
No scales—just concrete.
Fingers curled at the edge,
white like talons. Ready to press.
I’m ready to swim. To taste gray
earth, which rocks me like the sea.
which man painted them
on the wall of the cave
that keeps feet pressed to the ground?
Reflections of light in a dew-laden sky
mourning and waiting
for an even greater sunrise.
“I’m sure you’re wondering why I’ve called you here tonight,”
he said, addressing the stars.
“But the truth is you already know. You’ve always known.”
The stars twinkled as they did in fairy tales.
One twinkled so brightly she burst, filling the night with
a wash of wispy red. The others applauded.
“Now, now,” said the man, whose feet were bound
to the ground beneath him. “I want to keep this brief.”
The nova lasted for seven months and seven days
and the man continued:
“One day you will all go out, like Stella over there.”
The stars wept without sound, but imbued the sky
with peridot. Auroras roared above, where blackness
had been before. It was a peaceable spectre, but the sight
made the man’s legs tremble, and suddenly
he was struggling for words.
“Please…don’t weep. It—it’ll be all right.”
In three days, the beauty of the auroras subsided
and the man continued:
“When you do, it will be the very end of everything.
When you go out, it will be the last light in the universe
and then it will be very, very dark.”
The stars shone for some time, perhaps aligning
themselves. It seemed there was an understanding
that had been reached between the man and the stars.
“But for as long as you’re shining—just as you are now—
I will reach for you.”
With that, meteors showered the night
and the brightest star of all turned the horizon
the palest shade of blue.
Where I live, you can touch the sky from the ground.
Sodium vapor colors the prints of your fingers
as you scalpel the sky—
sundering the initial incision.
At point-blank range, grass becomes a myth
because we have made a fold. From here,
Atlantis drips chalk-white starlight into the dippers
of the cosmos and each mile traveled
is a hundred hundred lifetimes in both directions.
Tacked-on zeroes have no value, though,
but act as placeholders in the holy places
of the universe. “Trees also reach up like us,”
someone once said, “but their roots
keep them tight to the soil.”
Where, by day,
we play and toil.
Photo by Tim Stone