Now that the last shaft of sunset has collapsed
into that rubble of cloud, let’s dust off
and see how bright the stars are, the disclosed
vault spinning like a discoball been drilled
smack into Polaris. My oracle’s
a bullhorn for the endtimes, portending
wars and rumors of wars in the stars’ course
headlong through the heavens. And even though
the astrophysicists as in chorus
to the oracle declare that all this sparkle,
every spectacular atom of it,
is a death, the expired light of bodies
that have burned themselves down to nothing,
yet they are so bright, and shimmery,
and to shimmy seems their light to me,
sequins tilting into a spotlight.
Don’t they move like jubilation on their wheel?
And don’t they flash with brash abandon?
And if finally they should quit their spheres
and fall upon us, their apocalypse
will surely seem a shower not of wormwood
but confetti, gleeful streaking
down the sackcloth dark to pronounce our doom
a wop bop a loo-bop, a wop-bam-boom.
Kimberly Johnson‘s collections of poetry include Leviathan with a Hook, A Metaphorical God, and the forthcoming Uncommon Prayer. Her monograph on the poetic developments of post-Reformation poetry will be published in 2014. In 2009, Penguin Classics published her translation of Virgil’s Georgics. Her poetry, translations, and scholarly essays have appeared widely in publications including The New Yorker, Slate, The Iowa Review, Milton Quarterly, and Modern Philology.