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For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Romans 8)
When we think back on it, we’ll call it “the end times”
and remember the strongmen tying knots in their thick ropes
just before they used them to bind up the bulls and drag them down.
We’ll remember how false confessions were forced out of the mouths of our daughters.The infidels used poisons and magic to effect this—
a worthy pursuit for witches.
When the sea pulls out and out further, getting ready for the enormous tidal wave, we’ll think of the bears and the chimpanzees—how they were released from the zoos
and were then free to roam what was left of the earth.
(I don’t remember what happened to the rest of the animals, do you?) The sea will pull out, as I’ve said. You must believe it or you’ll have no part in the dialogues.
We will call it “end times,”
and reminisce about seeing bats—how they followed the seagulls out to sea and drowned there (as did our Nana’s only son. She had daughters, but poor, drowned Ned was her only boy). We were raised on mysticism and mine disasters
and we watched our fathers spit tobacco out into the orchards or the fields or the ocean. We will look back at the last of the sunflowers leaning so low, and we’ll recall the “end times,” swooning at the way the brown sky infiltrated houses,
and temples and concert halls.The proper incantation is the one that brings loved ones back to life after they’ve passed over to the other side. My mother knew this, so did her eldest sister. They held hands sometimes
and chanted it low and sweet over the newly-dug graves in old cemeteries. Now my mother has died and my Aunt, her eldest sister, says there are no incantations. By the time the grasses have all been burnt,
and we’re all afraid of sex, as we used to be, the only good books will be photo albums
with pictures of the “end times” as we remember them.While the hookers count their
stretch marks and the pimps count their money,
we will chuckle over the way hundreds of cars simply stopped on bridges and people got out of the cars and looked over the sides down into the lakes and dry creek beds to see if anything could be divined there. We’ll call them “the end times,” and nod solemnly.We will cut our eyes to the side and smile at each other’s chatter; each of us will believe that he or she owns the truth. Not so. We all know
the same secret:
there is sunlight and there is snow and horse piss steams in both. The “end times” will buckle and roll in our memories. Hoping for further mercies, we’ll walk naked to the sea; we’ll stand and watch it disappear.
Copyright 2020 Martina Reisz Newberry. From Blues for French Roast with Chicory by Martina Reisz Newberry (Deerbrook Editions, 2020).