Perhaps the World Ends Here

Perhaps the World Ends Here
by Joy Harjo

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

Minnesota Thanksgiving


For that free Grace bringing us past great risks
& thro’ great griefs surviving to this feast
sober & still, with the children unborn and born,
among brave friends, Lord, we stand again in debt
and find ourselves in the glad position: Gratitude.

We praise our ancestors who delivered us here
within warm walls all safe, aware of music,
likely toward ample & attractive meat
with whatever accompaniment
Kate in her kind ingenuity has seen fit to devise,

and we hope—across the most strange year to come—
continually to do them and You not sufficient honour
but such as we become able to devise
out of decent or joyful conscience & thanksgiving.
Bless then, as Thou wilt, this wilderness board.

Covalent Bonds

Covalent Bonds
by Sunbry Fieldhat

Zane Grey slipped near the drain
losing his never to be forever balance

He was often careless like this
lost in the milieu of millennial-like
reflections on self, and life, and the careless
way he stepped, reflected the careless way he

Losing touch with the ground was simply
body following mind

Inevitably and quickly
his brain case,
filled with brief wonder,
closed the gap
met the ledge

A robust stream
of blood
slipped warmly down
his neck

His girl, exasperated,
having made allowances
for his flitting mind and
inattentive hands heard the
thud but didn’t move

better to let hope rub a rush to heat
than call 911 right away



Shower and Steam by Bryson Hatfield

I’m letting it all rush over me,
each molecule
how the exasperation of
the heat rubs off
and the allowance of such a thing

every complex covalent bond slipping warmly
over my skin

waiting for the inevitable


and I wonder what part of them stays with me
what is with
what is without
what do i keep
what falls freely
without my knowledge.

what bit of intense connection did I lose
because I was too busy
too careless
too wrapped up in millennial narcissism

something lost in a moment
slipped forever down the grey drain


Visit Little Spud In The Big Apple to see the poem in its original context

#1 / Garbage / A.R. Ammons

Creepy little creepers are insinuatingly
curling up my spine (bringing the message)

saying, Boy! are you writing that great poem
the world’s waiting for: don’t you know you

have an unaccomplished mission unaccomplished;
someone somewhere may be at this very moment

dying for the lack of what W.C. Williams says
you could (or somebody could) be giving: yeah?

so, these little messengers say, what do you
mean teaching school (teaching poetry and

poetry writing and wasting your time painting
sober little organic, meaningful pictures)

when values thought lost (but only scrambled into
disengagement) lie around demolished

and centerless because you (that’s me, boy)
haven’t elaborated everything in everybody’s

face, yet: on the other hand (I say to myself,
receiving the messengers and cutting them down)

who has done anything or am I likely to do
anything the world won’t twirl without: and

since SS’s enough money (I hope) to live
from now on on in elegance and simplicity–

or, maybe, just simplicity–why shouldn’t I
at my age (63) concentrate on chucking the

advancements and rehearsing the sweetness of
leisure, nonchalance, and small-time byways: couple

months ago, for example, I went all the way
from soy flakes (already roasted and pressed

and in need of an hour’s simmering boil
to be cooked) all the way to soybeans, the

pure golden pearls themselves, 65¢ lb. dry: they
have to be soaked overnight in water and they

have to be boiled slowly for six hours–but
they’re welfare cheap, are a complete protein,

more protein by weight than meat, more
calcium than milk, more lecithin than eggs,

and somewhere in there the oil that smoothes
stools, a great virtue: I need time and verve

to find out, now, about medicare/medicaid,
national osteoporosis week, gadabout tours,

hearing loss, homesharing programs, and choosing
good nutrition! for starters! why should I

be trying to write my flattest poem, now, for
whom, not for myself, for others?, posh, as I

have never said: Social Security can provide
the beans, soys enough my house, paid for for

twenty years, is paid for: my young’un
is raised: nothing one can pay cash for seems

very valuable: that reaches a high enough
benchmark for me–high enough that I wouldn’t

know what to do with anything beyond that, no
place to house it, park it, dock it, let it drift

down to: elegance and simplicity: I wonder
if we need those celestial guidance systems

striking mountaintops or if we need fuzzy
philosophy’s abstruse failed reasonings: isn’t

it simple and elegant enough to believe in
qualities, simplicity and elegance, pitch in a

little courage and generosity, a touch of
commitment, enough asceticism to prevent

fattening: moderation: elegant and simple
moderation: trees defined themselves (into

various definitions) through a dynamics of
struggle (hey, is the palaver rapping, yet?)

and so it is as if there were a genetic
recognition that a young tree would get up and

through only through taken space (parental
space not yielding at all, either) and, further:

so, trunks, accommodated to rising, to reaching
the high light and deep water, were slender

and fast moving, and this was okay because
one good thing about dense competition is that

if one succeeds with it one is buttressed by
crowding competitors, that is, there was little

room for branches, and just a tuft of green
possibility at the forests roof: but, now,

I mean, take my yard maple–put out in the free
and open–has overgrown, its trunk

split down from a high fork: wind has
twisted off the biggest, bottom branch: there

was, in fact, hardly any crowding and competition,
and the fat tree, unable to stop pouring it on,

overfed and overgrew and, now, again, its skin’s
broken into and disease may find it and bores

of one kind of another, and fungus: it just
goes to show you: moderation imposed is better

than no moderation at all: we tie into the
lives of those we love and our lives, then, go

as theirs go; their pain we can’t shake off;
their choices, often harming to themselves,

pour through our agitated sleep, swirl up as
no-nos in our dreams, we rise several times

in a night to walk about; we rise in the morning
to the crusty world headed nowhere, doorless:

our chests burn with anxiety and a river of
anguish defines rapids and straits in the pit of

our stomachs: how can we intercede and not
interfere: how can our love move more surroundingly,

convincingly than our premonitory advice

Lost Love Poem by Marty Steyer

                  — To Patty 

Maybe it's sheltering today under
a blizzard of paid bills and bank receipts,
or maybe it flew south. Do you wonder,
dear, why old age (a murder of crows) greets
us with cawing? We've faced its raw music
lightheartedly, scattering our last crumbs
among mourning doves, which, just in the nick
of time, pecked them before it snowed. Numb is
indeed what our paired hearts must hope to be
to keep pounding through another season
of teeth-chattering cold. Calamity
has not yet touched us, love, which is reason
enough for good cheer and celebration.
The snow flowers like a white carnation.