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Poetry by Colin Dodds and Nels Hanson

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.

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