Too Long at the Shrimp Table
I know you’re enthralled
with all the glittering infinities
of those Manhattan parties,
Where all the women look like they despise you.
where after awhile, there’s nothing left
in the world that will surprise you.
And those infinities aren’t infinite.
They’re just more than you can eat,
especially in this heat, this awful heat.
Explain how we and animals, fish
and plants survived the zero hour?
Stare at sky. Choose clearest star.
See light radiate, orange sprouting
silver spines. A decade wait before
a thousand rays deploy like spokes,
one lit thin arrow aimed and racing
to explode dry continents, tinderbox
of husks. Instead observe the flame
unveil a ship, smaller at its belly,
veering as tan glow rises, this craft
from vast space tracing full moon’s
arc in surety, descending now wide
crater in the Marsh of Dreams. O
think how cavern walls retreat for
miles so gradually, slope slowly to
reveal span of ocean’s blue solid
depths. Hover over ice, lasers’ red
finger where water cracks, churns
rocking combers. Again from your
dead lawn view lesser light greet
Earth, six days orbit four horizons,
lift, fall, the seventh a rendezvous
with waning gibbous. Azure bolts,
cursive Z’s streak our atmosphere,
go out as ship’s mirrored sun fades,
shadowed captain sailing for dying
other worlds. Ours still boils, lakes,
deeps vanish, raise no clouds, leaf
wilts, snakes hunt shade, rivers run
sand. Water, hoarsely whisper, echo
from an empty shell. Water. Day or
night, “Thirst!” sere grass, ant, moss,
zebra, falling bird, parched dolphin
cry in vain. Scorched planet shakes
and kindles lightning strikes, yellow
thunder we never knew, surely fire
our future and end until for answer
brown skies flash, sketching instantly
a final illuminated blue word: Rain
fell a century, pure shade of platinum
in torrents from the changing moon.
Colin Dodds grew up in Massachusetts and completed his education in New York City. He’s the author of several novels, including WINDFALL and The Last Bad Job, which the late Norman Mailer touted as showing “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.” Dodds’ screenplay, Refreshment, was named a semi-finalist in the 2010 American Zoetrope Contest. His poetry has appeared in more than a hundred publications, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Samantha. You can find more of his work at thecolindodds.com.
Nels Hanson has worked as a farmer, teacher, and writer/editor. His fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award and Pushcart Prize nominations in 2010, 2012, and 2014, and has appeared in Antioch Review, Black Warrior Review, Southeast Review, and other journals. His poems have appeared in Word Riot, Oklahoma Review, Pavilion, and other magazines, and are in press at Pacific Review, Carnival, Sharkpack Review Annual, NonBinary Review, Dark Matter Review, and The Mad Hatter's Review. His poems in Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine and Citron Review have been nominated for 2014 Pushcart Prizes.