they found water there, so we can move to Mars–
red planet god of war never knew the need for mercy.
the milky way could use another arm,
another trillion, twinkling stars, a slow phase
pregnant with planets bearing
tall pines stabbing pink skies,
white mountaintops a cold heaven.
in America, communities die one tragedy at a time.
our rivers are rancid and oxygen is halitosis.
maybe we’re dreaming, drinking
through sunrise– that’d explain our inability
to reason, expecting god to save us
from a doctrine
more widespread than bullets.
maybe we trust too much– the way
we comfort the grieving, a surplus
of prayer, words passing the breeze.
there were clumps of dead leaves before autumn began.
it’ll be beautiful, what then.
the season will kill and kill.
we’ll mourn our addiction to mercy,
wonder if it’s worth it
to bring a child into the world,
shuttled from her innocent rest
to our blood, soil fresh and familiar.
what’ll autumn do, then,
with winter afraid
to enter a landscape
(originally published in The Derails Review, 2016)