The Bedlam of Fatigue
The world was ending, and everybody knew. Precautions seemed superficial. Alarms were symphonic. At least the red smoke billow from the portside explosion obscured the view; we could hardly see tenement-hall skeletons. And the animals, already agitated from the stench and unrest, briefly rested in the murky dark.
Dusk was descending, or a slow bank of smoke drifted across the low hills. The nearest faded from view. Police crept in with their helmets and shields, always under cover. One stepped into your home. Your door was missing, windows broken. He got to know the room so he can navigate it when his sight is gone.
This was our collective life. But still, there were unexpected touches of public softness. Children quieted down. Nontraditionalists emerged from boxy sedans clutching science journals. The public began to read novellas in their free time, attended lectures, spoke freely about their mental illness and sexual proclivities. Masked factory workers discussed Marx and Engles, Charlie Chaplin, Dorothy Day. Icing on the cake.
But the landscape has withered. We neglected it for too long; failed to curate an image of nature that would sustain itself without constant intervention. Now groves are hexes. Marshes only rot. Reefs are plastic floating off the coast of Staten Island; fish are bottles. Pull up that handful of garbage and another sloughs in to take its place. At least it’s a way forward. It’s helping a square foot of land. You have to keep doing it.
Connor Fisher is the author of the chapbooks The Hinge (Epigraph Magazine, 2018) and Speculative Geography (Greying Ghost Press, forthcoming 2020). He has an MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and English from the University of Georgia. His poetry and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Typo, The Colorado Review, Tammy, Posit, Cloud Rodeo, and The Denver Quarterly.