Survival by Cat Dixon

When the end arrived, my feet
still stung with nerve damage,
the sun still rose and set, the sea
filled with plastic waste still
tossed its waves. Some things
cannot be solved, and I sit
with those lonely equations
like Prufrock’s ragged claws
on the sea floor. Yet old age delivers
age spots, lost words, weakness
of the upper body. Everything is
subtraction—what haven’t I lost?
I miss the ticking of the clock,
the chime of the Ring doorbell
with video of the delivery driver
shlepping my chicken wings and fries,
the dystopian novels and films
that portrayed gray skies, big brother
eyes, crowded caves or space capsules.
I don’t miss the commute—
spiders revealed with a lifted rock—
or the urgent messages sent
through clouds that purported
importance, but offered lack.
The leaky dam—allowing stress
to spill into every waking moment
and every sleep—has disappeared.
When the end—a mirrored blimp
above a football stadium—appeared
we lifted our heads, hands, and cheers.
The long-promised revolution
birthed pamphlet and grenades.
We waved welcome to the giant
unbelievable consequence of existence.
We boarded her bloated wings
and sailed away. I write we,
but now it’s only me.
I miss the convenience
of convenience stores—
fridges boasting blue
and red energy drinks,
shelves packed with snacks,
and hot pizza already boxed
with its wafting aroma greeting
each newcomer. I miss coffee shops
with their expensive concoctions
and their machines whirring
and the hum of whispered
conversations. I miss heat—
the click as the furnace began,
the smell of burning, but not quite,
each fall it was switched back on.
I miss the stars from both
sky and earth. The pretty
celebrities kept entertaining
until those last moments—most
couldn’t tell laughs from cries.
The heavens are draped in smoke
and ash—all those sparkling
diamonds decked out in gray gowns,
satellites parked, astronauts
at the space station out of jobs.
Yet the universe continues her
expansion—her womb contracting
and with each push she bites
down, tears each black hole
wider, her groans grow wilder,
her brow rains with sweat. At
her knee, we would’ve
offered encouragement, ice
chips, and tears, but you’re not
here. My tongue is flame
and there’s no word to offer
except hello into the empty
void that pulsates with addition.
The universe will lobster—
its claws grasping my neck,
holding me under water until
I stop struggling, and admit
I miss nothing. I am nothing.
There is nothing but universe
and her suffering—ever-lasting
and fruitful. Like a weed,
she always finds a way.
catCat Dixon is the author of the new poetry collection What Happens in Nebraska (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2022) along with five other chapbooks and collections. She is a poetry editor with The Good Life Review and an adjunct instructor at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. Find out more at her website:



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