Colleen Louise Barry



when it is the apocalypse
you say you will save me
when you save me
i save you
you say there is a box
and no way to open it
there are plastic knives you assume
you can use but plastic
is no good apocalyptically
we planned for this to begin
surviving we recognize our bodies
from the dead bodies
by listening very carefully
to the 99.999 percent
empty space humming of our atoms
like a distant airplane
in an empty sky
we follow gulls to the coast
stand on top of tug boats
put our fists above our brains
miss baked goods
grow salty
shout we feel
fine at night
in our house boat
a kind of cradle
on the quiet sea
we sleep in case of emergency
palm to belly
you pull the last covers on earth
over our buzzing
shroud-like and red i say
remember when
we were kids
this was our bomb shelter
anything is anything
when it is the apocalypse
you’ve got to reprioritize
we break into the shake shack
by the shore
steal the rum
the tiny black swords
fight all over the dock
i say aha i got you
you say truce we eat
the singing shrimp you say
damn it we’re turning pink
i say it’s the apocalypse
we’re not pink damn it
we’re fluorescent
you say we are always almost dying
i say we are already dead



when i say i want everything i love to die on the second time around
with space and a soft mystery
i am thinking of damka and krasavka
(soviet space dogs)

they were to make an orbital flight on December 22 1960
but their mission was marked by a string of equipment failures
the craft was to eject the dogs
it was to self-destruct
but the upper stage rocket failed
the lower stage rocket failed
the primary self-destruct mechanism failed
the ejection seat failed

the animals were thus still in the intact capsule when it returned to the surface of the earth
the backup self-destruct mechanism was set to a 60 hour timer
a team was quickly sent out

although the capsule was reached in deep snow on the first day
there was insufficient remaining daylight
the team could only report that the window was frosted over in the −45 degree temperatures
no signs of life were detected

on the second day however the dogs were heard barking
the capsule was opened
the dogs were wrapped in sheepskin coats and flown to moscow alive


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