In the Time of Vanishing Kingdoms

Nancy Dickeman

Out of nowhere, winds flare, a spark catches 
the oak, its bark chars while flames hollow 
the trunks of the stand of trees:
a forest of candles.

Miles away, the beach once walked upon
is now the floor for an underwater kingdom
of seaweed and fish in need,
coral blanched and brittle at the ocean’s edge. 

Still, the earth’s rotation 
remains as reliable as anything 
the universe offers —  the red moon’s eclipse
over islands and storm-shattered palms.

The dank sludge of oil 
dredged from the earth 
alters the seas, skews the balance 
of hot and cold

until it is only illusion
that villages and cities wrapped 
along diminishing shores
and birds that rummage 

through grass 
or pluck fish from swells
will still be here 
in so many blinding sunrises.

Nancy Dickeman is the author of the poetry chapbook Lantern. Her poems, fiction, and essays appear in Post Road, Alaska Quarterly Review, Poetry Northwest, Hawai’i  Pacific Review, High Desert Journal, The Seattle Times, and other publications. She lives in Seattle and is literary curator for a multidisciplinary exhibit addressing nuclear issues, Particles on the Wall.

Comments are closed.