“End of the World” by Mary Paulson

While you’re taking a shower or
mowing the lawn, buying
a banana at the fruit cart—
an abrupt,
soundless silence—
alien, lacking vibration, ambition,
movement, it perforates
the tender membrane, consciousness
leaking, tiny holes punched
with impossible speed, this
un-sound surrenders
existence for you. You strain
tiny human ears to not hear
absence, unimpassioned annihilation,
feel your peripheries
dispatched, the
whole design undone—

Remember seasons? Plots of
summer books? Parents
before they got old? Wasn’t I also
going to grow old?
Remember West Wing re-runs
in bed with the dog?
In the midst of erasure, I find myself
crying for the dog. I hold
in front of me what’s left of my
open palms. Was everything
I once held impossible?

My hope is
we will be fearless—
as a species—
finally fearless, gentle,
quick to forgive—
that we gulp at the dark
last call with an open-mouthed yes.
Then, newborn sleep resembling
vastness, up in a treetop
with the stars.

Mary Paulson‘s writing has appeared in Slow Trains, Mainstreet Rag, Painted Bride QuarterlyNerve CowboyArkanaThimble Lit MagazineTipton Poetry JournalThe Metaworker Literary Magazine, Months to Years, Speckled Trout ReviewFleas on the DogChronogramSwamp Ape ReviewPine Hills Review and Backchannels. Her chapbook, Paint the Window Open was recently published by Kelsay Books.

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