Ann K. Schwader
was simple once. A phone
the shade of midnight sunrise rang somewhere
in Washington or Moscow, & the moan
of missiles filled our momentary air
to bursting with their urgency. One flash
before the sirens’ silence – then who cared
happened next? We fixed our hopes on ash
& shadows, all the madness burned away
forever. Now we watch a planet trashed
& drowning in Antarctica’s decay
depopulate – too slowly – in its shroud
of satellites. How many years afraid
whatever exit we’ve endowed
our future with? I miss that mushroom cloud.
Ann K. Schwader’s poems have recently appeared in Spectral Realms, Dreams & Nightmares, Star*Line, Abyss & Apex, and Weird Fiction Review. Her most recent collection, Dark Energies (P’rea Press 2015) was a Bram Stoker Award Finalist. She was the SFPA Grand Master for 2018.
Editor’s Notes:Terza rima is an Italian form poem consisting of interlocking rhyming tercets. The image is a collage of a red telephone (StickPng), the trifoil radiation symbol (Iconfinder), and a mushroom cloud (Nuclear Blast Wallpapers Group).