A Gen Xer and a Millennial Speak of the End of the World by Anthony DiPietro

When you’ve just finished reading apocalypse
novels and your slightly younger boyfriend’s
addicted to climate change
articles and you have faith that what’s
coming, whether zombie virus, H1N1,
solar flare—whatever happens first
doesn’t matter—you’d rather imagine
what kind of wagon you’ll escape on,
you and your love, when that late afternoon
light disturbs some future morning—
but he says phytoplankton have begun
to smother like goldfish, gasping
on kitchen counters and coral reef
will soon be museum relics, nothing else
and he argues whether Bernie
can still win—you interrupt
to list a few artful approaches
you’ve seen in the literature, but then
the razor in his voice when he says
I’ll stop talking, I’ll just listen, between gritted teeth,
firmly as if you’ve raised a fist.
Then you find your lip quivers
with the tension of a dam, and did I mention
you are riding the Red Line when the crying
starts—you both get out at Harvard Square, the acrid
summer garbage smell welcomes you but isn’t
what’s stinging your eyes that now drizzle
like the Cake Ace on Food Network
and he apologizes, Honey, honey,
honey, for the nothing wrong he did,
and by the time you get to Elephant & Castle
you don’t feel like eating—the host
who seats you didn’t want to come to work
tonight, and your weeping
doesn’t help, and everyone in the restaurant
wonders if your date attacked you
or if your parents have cancer—so you go
to the basement, find a urinal, still leaking
from your eyes, and stare at a poster of red
double-decker buses in London, and that should cheer
you up, and you start talking
to yourself in a British accent
because sometimes you don’t have a bloody clue
why the fuck you’re crying.

Anthony DiPietro is a Rhode Island native who worked for 12 years in community-based organizations that addressed issues such as violence, abuse, and income inequality. In 2016, he moved to New York to join Stony Brook University as a candidate for a creative writing MFA and now teaches undergraduate courses. A graduate of Brown University with honors in creative writing, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Anomaly, Assaracus, The Good Men Project, Helen, Rogue Agent, The Southampton Review, Talking River, and The Woman Inc. His website is AnthonyWriter.com.

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