no survivors

by Adele DeWitt

there is no survival as we were
they are gone
we are gone

the chemical formula dissolved
the only future
is as someone different

this of course involves a decision
to go on at all
as anyone

a choice to make
under pressure
choose yes
keep breathing
when the air is poison gas

death is the hardest
no negotiation
this is the last word
the word is

no reflexes
no pulse
no respiration

no matter how long
or how much preparation
nothing will protect against
the sickening nightmare blow
of no

a life ends
our life ends
we have not the life we knew
but the ruins of it

left with
half a bridge
half a ladder
useless to reach back far enough
to the we that was

this legacy
this treasury
demands space

we survive
enshrining unsurvivable loss
in a place of its own
and sacred

memory is immortality
the only one
in our power to give

— January 2018, St. Croix


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