Because the Birds Will Survive, Too

by Katherine Riegel

I’m writing from after

the end of the world,

after apocalypse,

after the breakdown


of what we once knew.

I am writing to tell you

it is possible to survive.

We didn’t all come back:


that is not possible.

Some of us hid

and popped out again

from holes as deep


as the sky. Some of us

learned to grow sustenance

in our backyards, once

the provinces of lawnmowers.


We kept our pets—

I know that is worrying you

but we had to love

more, sometimes,


than we had to live.

You don’t know yet

what type of explosion

I am talking about:


will you, personally,

watch the parts of yourself

take leave of each other

and trudge down unknown


paths? Will the land itself

break apart, crack into

tree-swallowing fissures,

mouths you nightmare about?


I’m telling you yes.

I’m telling you live.