A HIGHER POWER BITES THE BULLET -after Yeats’s “The Second Coming”

the sun died this morning
and for eight fateful minutes

we were completely unaware—
until the men in coats with telescopes

pointed them upward into the ether,
optimistic for an uncalculated

eclipse or something they’d missed,
those faithful instruments

performed their final task
as they glimpsed the sputtering

flares of a terminal star
sending off swells of radioactivity

that would make everything
back on earth wiggle and dance

its way towards a warm death.
that’s likely when the men

sounded the futile alarms–
a direct line to the world’s

wealthy rang that it was time
to scurry off to their subterranean

edens to prolong what could have been
a merciful death. they will freeze leaving

orbit or be obliterated by a rogue jupiter.
the animals know best

and many made hasty deaths:
the birds gave a loving fatal peck

to every egg in their nest before
flying off to a crushing altitude.

the deer jumped with their eyes closed
off of overpasses and into traffic.

the snakes went straight to eating themselves.
marine life resisted the impulses to swim

or resurface and sank down into the abyss.
the weakest of the animals resorted

to the consumption of poison.
those devoid of affluence

and intuition poked their heads outside
to witness a midday blood

moon phenomenon

and the emergency systems blaring

out for trivial civility as the vehicles
hurled themselves haphazardly

into everything and the fire hydrants
celebrated it all by showering

the streets in champagne,
an aperitif to the slow annihilation

that came slithering in—
a radioactive serpent

with an ultraviolet tongue.
the serpent struck and disseminated

its infrared venom, and so began
the white-hot trickle of cellular evisceration.

the convulsions, the wailing, and the fear—
was this dying? was this death?

or was this slouching towards
andromeda to be born again?