The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “Notes on the End of the World” by Meghan Privitello

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“Day 11”

When the world ends, I want to be sailing on a ship
that, from a distance, looks like a folk painting.

Its misshapen sails will hold my hands
and tell me we are helpless
against the wind
. I will touch them
as if they are small bruised faces.

From the distance of floating out to sea,
I will look through my telescope to find you
and hemorrhage when I realize
I packed a kaleidoscope instead.

Figuratively, you are the stationary
blue speck in its spectral center.

Literally, you are an almost invisible
wind-burnt man standing in a ditch.

Don’t blame my eyes for being distracted
by flashy patterns. They swallow
your dim blue light and spin themselves
into maps of incurable diseases.

Chances are I will never find you.

Unless I have chosen to pack my cello,
in which case I will strum one string
until it becomes drowsy whale music
and hope that you have crawled inside the body
of Moby Dick which would be the only way
you could translate my voice saying:

I am on a ship.
I am sailing around the horizon.
I am dressed like a star – angry
and unafraid to die.
The world has been flat all along.
By the time you hear me say this
I will already have fallen over the edge
and forgotten your name.


This selection comes from the collection Notes on the End of the World, available from Black Lawrence Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for August is Donna Vorreyer.

Meghan Privitello is the author of A New Language for Falling out of Love (YesYes Books, 2015) and Notes on the End of the World (Black Lawrence Press, 2016), winner of The Black River Chapbook Competition. Poems have appeared in Guernica, A Public Space, Gulf Coast, Boston Review, Best New Poets, Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation, & elsewhere. She is the recipient of a NJ State Council of the Arts Fellowship in Poetry.

Donna Vorreyer is the author of Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (Sundress Publications, 2016) and A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013), as well as seven chapbooks, most recently Encantado, a collaboration with artist Matt Kish from Redbird Chapbooks. She works as a middle school teacher in the Chicago suburbs.

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