Fever on the streets as our planet swings
closer to the sun, as the biohazard atomizes,
rabid dogs hunt in packs, and the nuclear
run-off seeps. Our lives mundane with disaster.
At the store, we snipe over which canned soup
has more nutrition, chunky or cream, which
shattered pack of crackers might have mice.
A red-faced stock boy with peeling palms counts
water bottles, while outside, men in lab coats
debate timelines of extinction. A woman in full
make-up and a smooth French twist sidesteps
as I climb inside a shelf for the last box of oats.
Smart wool dress, purse dangling from a charmed
wrist, she stretches on tanned legs to help my
husband reach a can of waxed beans. Her fingers
rest on his bicep for balance. His eyes are hungry.
My T-shirt smells like our dead guinea pig. I wish
for one last bolt of catastrophe: a fissure, a sinkhole
in the dry goods aisle. So that weeks from now,
it will be my hair unravelled and specked with debris,
my ash-smeared skin in a strappy slip, as I lie beside
a naked man whose name I will not ask. Too busy
tracking diseased dogs with my night-scope and rifle,
too busy brewing carboys of anti-toxin, wielding
my flamethrower against radioactive spiders,
too busy calculating orbit-altering supernovas
to settle for repopulating the earth.
Nancy Lee is the author of two books, Dead Girls, a collection of short stories, and The Age, a novel. Her poetry has appeared in literary journals including Canadian Literature, Event Magazine, Prism International and The Fiddlehead. She lives in Steveston, BC with her husband, the author John Vigna.