a man in a bowler announces that the time has come
and the angels of the shore drift up and down.
Soon it will rain, and the crowd, two by two
will be called to cross the village green.
They’ll pass beside the butcher’s shop
and wave sad kerchiefs to the hanging pigs.
When they come to the sea, up the gangplank they’ll flow
into the rusted ironclad, each feeling happy now
since this must signal the arrival of the end—
as if between tomorrow and yesterday
were not the day they’re living in.
The procession past, the last will come, the slowest one.
With her cane she’ll tap the gangplank
as if testing ice on a frozen lake.
The last is Gladys, whom I have come to love
she who in the future says, “Ah, that—
That was hardly the end.”
Jordan Zandi is the author of Solarium (Sarabande Books, 2016), which won the Kathryn A. Morton prize and was named by both the New Yorker and the New York Times as one of the best poetry books of the year.