He stabs the east each night     at 7:45.
A smattering of matters flee      the bright assault.
A sickle moon leaks fire opal    light on the beleaguered night.

Mars limns the x-ray grin beneath the skin.
Friends feel pulled
toward the red death glow.
The wolf of lupus snares young women             in menses
                                                                               in the teeth of war.
Village mothers
fall like autumn fruits    in mini-marts and desert fields,            they twitch as
their orphans cry,         scattered on the ground, ripe   detritus            of mars' reign.

Punjabi warriors train their frenzied boys          with sharpened sticks—   their golden eyes
like falcons fierce        claws and feathered epic crests.
Mushroom clouds bloom in moist dark-blood-dark mulch
when Mars pokes his sharp stick in the sky's eye
                                                                                even Himalayan peaks melt in his hot gaze.

We know when Mars recedes:
peace laps       the tips of waves          smooth as moon-spun silver.
The dead rest easy,    gibbering shades in the abyss   of space
still/pulse again            in time with star-beat-heart.
Those boys’ spears     till the fertile fallen mothers where they lay
at ease             in quiescent fields       and stores.                       Apocalypse averted.

Copyright © 2006, Kevin C. Little, Jr.

Image Credit: Copyright © 2003, Damon Taylor, some rights reserved

Kevin Little is the poetic great-grandchild of Theodore Roethke. He lives in tropical Art Deco splendor in Sacramento, California with his partner, Andrew, a Papillon named Louis Vuitton and two Bengal cats. He supports his poetry habit by teaching high school English and choreographing obscure musicals.