In the event of an apocalypse
please —
exit through the rear doors to the parking lot.

Walk (do not run) along the shores of river rock,
the granite that passes for beauty in this world without water —
stone filling the wooden curb to the brim
and welling onto the sidewalk.
There is something backwards about that.
Something unnatural in the movement of grey pebbles flowing to kiss an asphalt shore,
already crumbling.

The sun bakes the wood to splinters
and the concrete to dust:
the day it crumbles
will be the same as all other days.

Lotuses do not bloom here —
rather, nightshades,
marking time in mounting redness
on a tiny island at the edge of the world.

Curious, then, that the small fruit
whose flesh seeps crimson from the thinnest of skins
does not taste like blood.

Curious, then,
that its ripeness grows to sweetness
over a litter of cigarette butts and fossilized gum —
that its yellow blossoms, nearly invisible,
fragrance indistinguishable from the warmth of the air
have wooed bees across this tarry sea.

Curious, then,
that this day —
these tomatoes, bruising —
should be the present.