Zombie Apocalypse by Christine Klocek-Lim

Zombie Apocalypse
—after “The Triumph of Death” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Even the angels fled when Death triumphed.
Humanity died in boxes and oceans while the skies burned—
so long ago now, but still strangely familiar.
Only the birds enjoyed the view,
fluttering eagerly above the suffering.

Contemplating lunch.

The old masters were never wrong—
Auden knew this. Bruegel, too, understood
our worry: that all wars are plagues.
That plagues are endemic to the human condition.
And when the dead rise, there are those
who don’t even notice. Sometimes the music plays
while fools and false gods pretend nothing is wrong.
The emperor’s clothes are invisible.
His closets contain skeletons.
The apocalypse has already come:
armies of the dead set our battleships aflame,
and we think it’s normal—
seasonal wildfires. To be expected.
Like Hawaii’s Kilauea or autumn in Los Angeles.
New York seventeen years ago.

Someday our children will pray
for us, thinking that’s all that’s needed.
Someday our skeletons will be all that’s left.
And perhaps the world is better off
with bones. Perhaps the bones
are better off with no mind
to confuse the issue—

The zombies are coming.

No, the zombies have already come.
The zombies have eaten the world
while we stare at paintings and websites,
marveling at the worst of times.

The future is theirs.

by Christine Klocek-Lim.

Editor’s Note: As an editor, I feel it’s important to avoid indiscriminate self-publishing, but on one day a year, perhaps you will forgive me (yes, it’s my birthday). Interestingly, I wrote this in May of 2018.


18 responses to “Zombie Apocalypse by Christine Klocek-Lim”

  1. Cathryn Essinger Avatar

    Happy Birthday! Cool poem!

  2. Dave Bonta Avatar

    Talk about celebrating your birthday in style! I feel a sudden urge to listen to some Slayer, at 10:00 o’clock on a Sunday morning. Excellent.

  3. Peg Duthie (@Zirconium) Avatar

    Better off with better-off bones, eh? Many happy returns!

  4. MJ White Avatar
    MJ White

    Happy Birthday! (No zombies were harmed in composing this message but happy birthday anyhow!)

  5. Gigi Goulet Avatar

    Thanks for vocalizing my worst fears! A few years ago I started having anxiety about random violence, then here we are today. I would tell my husband “the zombies are just around the corner” So thanks I guess….Love the art work–I might have included Hieronymus Bosch. At 78 and 82, we hope to ride this out and see the where this all ends. Wish us luck. A sometime contributor,

    1. Christine Klocek-Lim Avatar

      Gigi, I have a lot of anxiety about a lot of things, and clearly that informs my writing! I hope you and yours remain safe in these trying times! -C

  6. Martin Elster Avatar
    Martin Elster

    Happy Birthday! Actually, we’ve never lived at a better time than the present (despite the current pandemic and the political upheaval). Things are certainly not perfect, however, and can be made better, of course. I love the poem. And Pieter Bruegel is one of my favorite painters.

    1. Christine Klocek-Lim Avatar

      Martin, very true! I’ve often reminded my kids that 150 years ago three of the four of us in the family would be dead (medical science is astonishing). Things are better now, but we are all stuck in the trees, not understanding that there’s a big forest around us, eh? -C

      1. Martin Elster Avatar
        Martin Elster

        And just think what medicine was like in the 16th century when Bruegel lived. Cellphones didn’t even exist a couple of decades ago! But I agree, we’re still stuck in the trees.

  7. Martin Elster Avatar
    Martin Elster

    To my previous comment, I’d like to add: and despite the anthropogenic climate change and mass extinction event, things are generally pretty good!

    1. Martin Elster Avatar
      Martin Elster

      … Not to mention future threats from AI, even worse pandemics, biotechnology, nuclear war, asteroid strikes, supervolcanos, the ultimate ballooning and death of the sun and the universe itself. How’s that for doomsday scenarios? Anyway, again, I love the poem, which will outlive all of us. Perhaps the robots of the future (our descendants) will remember it!

      1. Christine Klocek-Lim Avatar

        So, you’re writing a disaster novel, right? 😉 Thank you for reading! -C

  8. Robert Bradshaw Avatar
    Robert Bradshaw

    Happy birthday! You so deserve one!

  9. Christine Potter Avatar
    Christine Potter

    Happy birthday! And yikes! Good poem!

  10. Lori Levy Avatar
    Lori Levy

    Great poem with a lot of good lines. Happy birthday!

  11. ouisuzette Avatar

    Amazing. And it speaks perfectly to these times we’re living in – you were prescient when you wrote it in 2018!
    I love this line, “Sometimes the music plays while fools and false gods pretend nothing is wrong.”

    I hope you had a very happy birthday!

    1. Christine Klocek-Lim Avatar

      I had a great birthday, thank you! And thank you so much for reading. I appreciate it.

  12. […] here, have a poem. It first appeared in Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY on November 29, 2020. I wrote this one back in 2018. It is remarkably […]

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