Sally Zakariya

End of an Era

                 The asteroid may have sown life throughout the solar system, even as it
                 ravaged life on Earth, “The Day the Dinosaurs Died,” New Yorker, 3/29/19

If he had looked up
he might have seen it coming
but fish don’t look up
and besides it was half
a continent away –
an asteroid six miles wide
and aiming straight
at Earth

The impact was like
a billion bombs at once –
a boom even a fish could hear
if he was listening but
by then it was too late

A jet of molten matter
shot up to space, fanned
out over the land, burning
the forests, blocking the sun,
plunging the planet in darkness

Millions of years later
scientists found the fish –
dead in an instant, its gills
filled with glassy particles
from superheated rock

The end of one era, the eve
of another, and perhaps
the dawn of life elsewhere –
perhaps on Saturn’s moons
where rubble from the blast
may harbor sparks of life
to start their own evolution


                 The Lamb misusd breeds Public Strife
                 And yet forgives the Butchers knife
                                                                 William Blake

He walks up the curved ramp
drawn by the pull of its dark center
one beast behind him, one before.

Slow, rough, with an instinct for the
inevitable, he moves on unquestioning,
feeling the harsh boards of the wall

rub against his flank the way he would
rub against a tree, taking pleasure in the
pasture and the buzzing air and the sun.

He sees a new kind of light that is not
the sun but he sees that it is right and when
he stands stunned next to the place of blood

he hears the awful bolt and feels it shudder
in his chest like a cleaver and knows
it has fulfilled some purpose set for him.

Lost Objects in Heaven

Heaven, if there is one, is where I’ll find them—
unimportant, trivial, meaningless to anybody

else, all the objects tangible and intangible
that once belonged to me, from the box top

decoder ring to the single carnelian earring
uncoupled from its mate to the innocence

I once scorned and threw away, and also
the photograph of you knee-deep in the river

waving to me on the shore, lost along with
Mother’s china fox and Granny’s garnets

and all the poems I wrote before I met you
set out like objects in a Joseph Cornell box,

enduring, holding silent conversations
in Heaven’s Lost and Found.

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