Summer’s time-lapse photography –
water steaming upward
from the desiccating forest,
hay crackling into straw
and rows of stunted cornstalks
like old men in limp paper dresses.
A fifth horse, riderless –
not a gallop at the sound of trumpets,
but a dull brown creeping.
Flower petals bruise and curl,
drawing back their sweetness
into some hidden rootstore.
The hummers zip in nervous coils
around in the feeder’s fluted glass,
the silvered pins of their beaks magnified
into spears, bloated –
as large as their hunger.
I imagined the End prouder.
At least heralded –
rearing outlined against the descending sky.
Not this slow deniable skulking
on its belly under the burning sun,
dried-out sideways eyes like raisins,
unshod hoofs leaching the dirt to clods,
all bluster and hot snorts.
The laughter of the bison and the heath hen
haunts the wildfire hills.
They see what’s coming –
as do we. Only they know
there is no god in our machines.
We boil sugar water
and watch the sky.
its teeth at our throats.
Emma Wynn teaches Philosophy & Religion, LGBTQ U.S. History, and Psychology at a boarding school in rural Connecticut. Her poetry is strongly influenced by her identity as a queer woman, a survivor of domestic abuse, and a Buddhist.