The sand here is dark, stained
by eons of tides, climates, embers
of footprints trailed by humans who,
intent on self-immolation, find ways
to make their small prints larger
as they race for the first apocalypse
they can find. Perhaps a shorter visit
to the tropical universe or the one
built after this one, the one still stocked
with breathable air, with liquors
able to give pleasure to a god.
Still, this model survives, proof
of some self-preservation in the populace.
A little more wine before the sisters
of the scarlet moon perform their ritual
dance again. Still. There are mine shafts
collapsed like veins, houses burning by
the acre. Right now a man is paying
more money for a gold chain than
my neighbors earn in a year.
He’ll wear it once or twice, toss it
in a drawer of shiny things he’ll sell
for four hundred bucks on a day when
those few bills mean more than all the money
he let slip from him back when it came in
too fast to bother counting.
The first shine from that trinket burns
in the back of his eyes, climbs out of his gaze
into the storm of atoms that spark the universe
and takes its place among the aspirations
illustrated by the sisters of the scarlet moon,
who pour more wine, try to soothe god into sleep,
leaving us with our self-made fires to burn our wounds
clean, to illuminate our feet as we try
again to follow the dance we will
die trying to master.