gone before the solstice

 

cross your heart, you swear    you saw the neighbors

            out collecting cow milk for the end of the world.

 

flannel shirts stained,    singing the old hallelujah songs

            from the backlogs of the baptist hymnal. or maybe

reciting Plath. you couldn’t tell—just knew they were

 

warbling something holy.       the kind of       rumblesong

            that keeps windmill blades turning through the dog

                        days.

                                   

            in the next life, you say you wanna be

something adjacent to invincible:       great sequoia.

 

balaenoptera musculus. femur. southern comfort. almost

            and not quite.              what you worship

    and what you run from: half-miracle. maybe

 

            the thing scientists call love has been an heirloom

from the old country this whole time, bubble-wrapped        

                        in the attic. still, some part of it          belongs

 

            to us. or maybe to our fake     children,

in their fugue-state unexistance. or maybe     to no one

 

at all.               cross your heart, you swear               

you’ll stick around until the week of dead winter—

            until the next body worth leaving for arrives.