This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Talking to Snakes by Rebecca Bratten Weiss, released by Ethel Zine in 2020.
You don’t have to be making lists of the things
that will die tonight. You could be bright and
shiny like a new dime, one of those people who
looks in the mirror and says “you got this babe”
or “u go girl.” You could leave post-it notes
to yourself, Wonder Woman in face cream.
When the little nothing that lurks out by the ash
trees, and sometimes gets the hammock swaying
with its bent little grey finger, comes to the window
and starts whispering about all the children in cages,
or the sludge in the streams, don’t listen to all that
negativity. Turn the music up high, put on your sassy
leopard-print shoes. What happened to the leopard
when they turned him into shoes is no concern of
yours, and it’s not your business, what the wild dogs
are saying as the moon swings down low and sharp.
The nothing out in the ash grove is stripping the bark
from the trees, but you can always hide in the bathroom
And read a fixer-upper mag. A pop of color is just what
the rage doctor ordered. Apocalypse orange.
The horses on the ridge are passing with legs a
hundred feet long but there’s no horse that can ride
you out of this, so get the glitter ready, get the
embalming fluids. This is the night everything dies.