"The Out Years"
Every day I look out the window and wonder how will I know when it's really the Apocalypse.
Sometimes I look at the edge of a leaf and I think that is the Apocalypse.
Sometimes I look at the edge of a leaf and I realize it is not a leaf but the wing of a katydid and I know it is not the Apocalypse but the Future.
[what species of katydid?
Rattler Round-winged Katydid,
[what species of leaf? Northern Red
oak, Quercus rubra]
Sometimes I look at the edge of a leaf and I see it is rolled up around a cocoon and I think that is too bad because all the soft things will be gone.
[what species of caterpillar? Oak leaf
webroller, Archips semiferanus]
The Future opens its mouth wide like a yawn and we fly in like gnats and we circle in the moist darkness waiting to be exhaled.
[what species of gnat? Simulium
How will the lizards know to lay their eggs in the shade?
I have a new mission. I am the informer. I learn the language of lizards to pass the word. I learn the language of lizards to explain the necessity of shade.
In place of phonemes I study poses. It is contrary to my nature to stay still for so long.
It would be easier to move the shade.
I learn the language of light to convey the necessity of moving the shade.
The trees are receptive to new ideas.
Susan Charkes lives in southeastern Pennsylvania. Her poetry has been published in Apiary, Arsenic Lobster, Blue Lake Review, Cleaver, Gargoyle, Paper Nautilus, Posit, Prick of the Spindle, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Spoon River Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In addition to writing poetry she is the author of three nonfiction books.