Extinction Level Event
by John C. Mannone
Like looking down the barrel of a Browning thirty-ought-six,
with just enough time for one supersonic thought, hot
lead spiraling down the barrel searing hope against the rifling.
I peer through the ‘scope aimed at heaven, the stars blur.
I suppose air’s dew dapples the silvered glass, glaring
its wet light into my eyes. Even tears need a gram of dust
to coalesce all its shimmers. It’s funny how the deep space
cold does that.
The hot-as-hell sun, desperate, intumesces against the gravity.
I don’t see Althaeseon anymore now lost in its red swell.
I remember holding you last night, you, hotter than that flare.
I twinge at tomorrow—your red hair, and cries
from Jupiters burning. What is left
to be said? The triggering
of frozen graveyards will resurrect a million comets
each with its fusil tail, drenching the universe, you, and me
looking down the barrel, the long cold barrel with fire inside,
flashing my last thought.
John C. Mannoneis the is a widely published award-winning poet nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize and for the 2010 Rhysling Poetry Award. His poetry and short fiction appear in numerous literary and speculative fiction journals such as Pirene’s Fountain, Aethlon, Lobster Cult, Eclectic Flash, Iodine Poetry Journal, The Linnet’s Wings, Enchanted Conversation, and Astropoetica. Professor Mannone is a nuclear consultant and teaches college physics in east Tennessee.
Poem © 2010 John C. Mannone. All other content copyright © 2010 Abyss & Apex Publishing.
Art Director: Bonnie Brunish