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Kathryn Levy: At the End of the World

she keeps washing the dishes—they

have to be clean for the

dinners of tomorrow—

and watching explosions

in some distant country

as a Mama screams No and 

Where is my baby? in

the rubble of another

world that has ended

—but only on TV from

8 to 9:30. —She

whispers she is tired

of watching explosions

and rubbing at the dishes

that never stay clean and

eating the dinners, trying

to make conversation,

when all that she wants 

is to dream a new story—a

completely new story without 

any explosions, though

she still isn’t burned

by the bombs or the Mama

who tears at her face

each night when she only

longs for a sleep. —For

sleep? It’s the end, so we

have to get up and

try to start searching

for the why? and the how? and

again and again no


Copyright 2022 Kathryn Levy

Kathryn Levy’s books include Reports (New Rivers Press, 2013). She lives in Sag Harbor, New York.

9 comments on “Kathryn Levy: At the End of the World

  1. Gerald Fleming
    June 1, 2022

    This poem ends on a dark note, and I’m so thankful for that–thank you, Michael, for posting it, and thank you, Kathryn, for writing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rhoff1949
    May 30, 2022

    Kathryn, you have captured that awful helpless state we are caught in when we are mediated witnesses to enormous violence, when our humanity is reduced to the discomfort we feel, when we would like to scream. The poem makes us stay there, where we truly are, that situation we must acknowledge and think from, searching for a way “to be of use” as Marge Piercy put it. Thank you for this poem.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sean Sexton
    May 30, 2022

    Oh yes Kathryn!
    So nice to see you and your thoughts so deservedly in print here!

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on May 30, 2022 by in Poetry, War and Peace and tagged , , , , , .

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