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.

Naomi by Christine Klocek-Lim

Naomi

The angel told her not to fall
asleep outside, but Naomi
had never been very good—
always the wild child.
The girl with the bold
words and songs
no one understood.
And anyway, the sunset had given
her ideas on how to pile
stones at the edge
of the field, like a pyramid
or a temple or a shrine,
and then she’d lost
her shoes in the grass.

An owl hooted.
Trees bent down further
than they ought, trying to see
what she’d done.

“This is what happens
when you don’t listen,”
the angel said.

Naomi captured a firefly,
thinking it might show
her secrets.
It had light. It could fly.

The angel fluttered like a broken
leaf above the scene, stern and righteous.

Naomi let the bug go.
She stretched out her feet and hands.
Watched the moon walk over the mountain
like an old wise woman, face turned
toward the past.

The angel tried again.
“This is not your place.”
“This is not your home.”

Naomi closed her ears and eyes,
remembering her lost dog.
Thinking of her dead mother’s cat,
how the creature would stare into the brush
for hours because everyone knew
a mouse lives beneath the world.

The angel swept wind over the field.
Scattered leaves and dust
as if anger had fingers.

Naomi pulled starlight
over her shoulders and elbows.
Tucked her feet into the hill.
“This is my dream,” she said.
“And I am not
afraid.”

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).

Henry by Christine Klocek-Lim

timber

Henry

The first knot his father taught
him held a mattress to the top
of the car. This is a Trucker’s Hitch,
the old man said, looping the rope
in and out of itself as though fastening
large things to small places
was easy. Lord knew, Henry
had never had any luck keeping
beds and whatnot from sliding
off the rails. The next knot
was a Figure Eight.
Again, his father said, a thousand
times over. This one came undone so easily,
Henry didn’t see the point.
The Tautline Hitch at least made sense—
his tent’s tension kept it strong,
even in the rain. Even when he heard
his father had cancer. A year after
that, they used Two Half Hitches
the night the tree came down
next to the house. They dragged
that log a thousand yards, it seemed,
though Henry let his father
do the tying of knots. In the rain,
the wet rope looked like a snake and bit
just as quick. Thunder and darkness
make everything feel impossible,
but even so, Henry didn’t know
that damned tree would be the last
wild thing his father ever knotted tame.
When the old man died, Henry tried
a Bowline Hitch to secure the tarp
over the mounded ground near
the gravestone, but rescue
had never been his strength.
Some things can’t be saved,
his father once said,
and so Henry never did learn
how to knot it right.

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). This poem is from a collection I’m working on in which I explore third person narrative. Inspired by: How To Tie The Only Five Knots You’ll Ever Need

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim