In which, an apocalypse by Quinn Rennerfeldt
In which, an apocalypse
Maybe when we die, the first thing we'll say is, "I know this feeling. I was here before.” -Don DeLillo, White Noise
Hands are held or pocketed; there is less looting than one might expect.
Cars are left to litter the highway’s otherwise naked shoulder, one truck’s motor
throating along as its battery drains beside us.
The end might have started months ago with an underground sound, or that smell
we failed to notice last fall, honeyed and wet with something bleach-clean beneath it.
But our last day arrives with a feeling of fine fabric ripping open as easily
as water sluicing beach sand and the sky seems to catch on the ribs of our
eyes, flattening to a hard-tack ceiling above us.
Some report rapture or déjà entendu, but most wait with the hungry pluck
of a newly-minted mouth ready for its first introduction to this milk-weighted breast.
Quinn Rennerfeldt earned her degree in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her recent works can be found in Bird’s Thumb, Sassafras Literary Magazine, and Slipstream. When not reading or writing, you might find her running the streets of Denver, searching for strange bugs, or spending time with her daughter, husband, and ornery cat.
Poet Jill McDonough chose "In which, an apocalypse" as the winner of the 2015 Peseroff Prize. She admired “the tenderness of this imagined universal ‘last day'; no one ever imagines ’there is less/looting than one might expect,’ and now we see that we should. Terrific attention to the smell of its starting, 'honeyed and wet,’ as well as ‘bleach-clean’—here we have a hopeful apocalypse poem: a whole new take on the genre.”