When Days End

a poem

Writer's Digest Poetry Awards Finalist : 2013

These hills were formed by pre-historic glaciers, 

Or a vast inland sea, 

I forget which, 

Because to me they appear as a graveyard, 

For ten thousand Mayflowers,

Or the Spanish Armada,

Hulls run aground and turned upside-down, 

Thirty miles west of Topeka, 

 

In these last weeks of summer, Kansas sunsets 

Burn atomic holocausts 

Of red and orange, cut by cirrus clouds, 

Like fighter jet vapor trails,

And I think I wouldn’t mind so much,

If the end is near, and it’s anywhere near this pretty,

 

I see my girl walking barefoot through the garden, 

Feeling for rocks between the rows with her toes,

Her soft, smiling steps command 

Attention, from beneath the hood of another 

Automotive circus, I delight in the way August has baked 

Her hair from butterscotch to buttercream,

 

She invites me to the back porch to watch the fireball, 

Slipping past the last tuft of buffalo grass, 

Useless now that we’ve nuked all the buffalo, 

And we sip whiskey Cokes from old jelly jars,

My girl’s honeyed hums disappearing

Into her glass, as I stare at the burning

Horizon, and nod with satisfaction,

As everything succumbs to the flames.

© 2020 by Nik Bristow