When It All Falls Apart

You can clutch at the remnants with your fingers,

you can breathe and meditate, you can rant and rave.

You can hold the hands of those closest and pray.


What will you take as the city burns, as the volcano erupts,

when your landscape is cinders and ash?

Will you have the strength to hold it all together,


when the atoms, the bees, the planets – all trying to fly apart?

In the storm of zombie apocalypse, or in the quiet of a waiting room

who are you willing to save, or lose? Are you ready yourself


to face the coming dark? We all teeter at the end, unsure of our next

steps, what awaits, a bright light or dark grave, a final blow,

the way we look at the birthday candles and say, “Make a wish.”


May dragons or angels await you.

May your memory burn like an imploding star.


Jeannine Hall Gailey served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She’s the author of five books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, and Field Guide to the End of the World, winner of the Moon City Press Prize and the SFPA’s Elgin Award. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Best Horror of the Year. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review and Prairie Schooner. Her web site is www.webbish6.com.