Poem About My Father Disguised as the End of the World
by Jason Irwin
Everyone knows this landscape is a façade:
propped up horizon of cork board and tin.
Curve of flesh. Lick of salt.
It’s all we can do to endure
the next few hours: gridlock on the drive home,
the unavoidable reckoning
of empty rooms. Who can say for certain
we are not descended from the stars?
When I was a boy I lay in bed
while my veins burned. My father was an asteroid.
Some nights I caught sight of him crashing
through space. Other times he was the whiskey
in my glass, the voice crying “No.”
The almanac predicts a treacherous end.
There’ll be no more pleasantries, no more
high-speed streaming of your favorite natural disaster.
No V.I.P. value meals, or cream in your coffee.
So call down the gods if you want, the traffic police,
insurance men. They’re only smoke signals in the fog.
Hawkers on the midway. Nails bitten down.
Jason Irwin is the author of A Blister of Stars (Low Ghost, 2016), Watering the Dead (Pavement Saw Press, 2008), winner of the Transcontinental Poetry Award, and the chapbooks Where You Are (Night Ballet Press, 2014), & Some Days It’s A Love Story (Slipstream Press, 2005). He has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. He lives in Pittsburgh.