Slipping in and out of consciousness,
His eyelids slowly open;
Waking feels so surreal.
His body is covered in bruises;
His skin tone much darker than before.
Noxious gases fill the room,
Floating about a sea of confusion
That keeps him adrift.
Pyres dance around the room
To the smell of charred flesh;
Charcoal has dressed everything in black
Like a thick veil of mourning.
His memory is a blank page,
Or perhaps a tape full of government files
That has been erased—
Amnesia has found a new home there.
With awareness awakened, he gathers
All his strength for a last time—
It hurts so much to move.
Even with his fragility,
The desire to know lifts him to his feet.
Torn limbs and squashed brains stare back at him—
The fleshy fallout of nuclear fury.
He steps toward the opening of the room,
The crackling of debris underneath his feet.
Pain spirals up and down,
And hollows him out.
From the emerging darkness,
Only constellations of the past can be seen.
He peers outside,
The storm reflected in his indigo eyes,
To the sight of Jovial cyclones and Martian dust storms.
The sun is setting to the east—
Flickering out at the beginning of day.
The silence is deafening;
It is the big bang of death.
A match of light is struck open
In his blank mind—
The clouds have now parted.
He takes one deep breath,
But the air doesn’t seem to fill his lungs—
They hurt inside,
And his heartaches can’t seem
To find the finish line.
A life-bearing germ had blessed Earth
From time immemorial.
Now the tentacles of a Western Baal
Have claimed countless lives—
His scaly breath having incinerated
The insides of twenty-first-century living;
Its visible organs, unconscious heart,
Exoteric skin, and spiritual lungs alike.
Earth’s womb is no longer
A melting pot of geometric figures
And Aristotelian ideas heated at
One thousand degrees Fahrenheit—
Exhausted are the superheated springs
That bore her.
Mother Nature is bent over a river—
Watching ripples in her reflection
that break her up inside.
The simple, soft rustling of leaves,
The hiss of swaying trees,
Fluttering messengers of the east that dressed
The earth in song
Are but compost—
The naked skies signify their fate.
Below the horizon, the chameleon sea
Lies dressed in brackish black foam.
With the rising of today’s sun
Comes the dusk of existence—
Devastation is without
An endoskeleton of
Classics, semantics, or philosophy.
The lonely soldier finally resigns himself to
One final thought:
That should the land perish,
She’ll always leave an unhurt
Seed or two behind—
Her thermophilic children.
We’ll know how well
That seed matures
Only after we’re gone.