Illustration by Nina Walker
Illustration by Nina Walker

“Vitality”

By Anna Brown

Words launch like asteroids
and howl towards the World–
a blinding inferno that paints the sky like
blood that never spills.

And the World holds Her breath,
tilting on Her axis like a crumbling tower and
exposing a frail surface, waiting
for the familiar embrace of fire.

Because She knows asteroids.
How they crumble to dust and ash,
strangling Her, blanketing the sky
with noxious clouds.

Yes, the sand seeps into canyons and trenches,
slipping through every crevice–
wriggling its way into history, a parasite
detected, yet never exterminated.

The sun winks into a memory,
flowers and trees wither and decay,
and even the roaring tiger collapses for
a deep, weary slumber in a bed

Of frigid, crystallizing grass.
Until the sun blazes again,
they never bloom nor wake.
And still, She resigns to every asteroid

Because the quiet World is familiar.
These dusty asteroids can be housed
And the Apocalyptic asteroids cannot.
The ones that explode and

Score Her surface with craters and
blast plants and felines and
consume them all with fire and floods
and fractures that can’t be repaired–

The asteroids born of speech cannot do this.
If She must choose between the two,
She will resign herself
To the familiar World of ash.