The Poetry Project

Cocktails At Dusk

Jeanne Dickey

The ones who die are the ones that should be dead, and
as far as the shapes in the sky, well,
We’re tracking the footsteps of deer, fox, and coyotes
as they make their way into the light.
Some worker in a bucket, maybe a window washer,
thought he’d climb his way up to our penthouse garden.
Come sit with us, we invited, hoping he’d say no.
His pupils dilated with hope, we thought,
as he moved closer to the light, but it turned out to be
just our burning cigarette ends. Flick.
Yesterday, astronomers found evidence of life on Venus.
Civilization there had burned itself to extinction.
Everything born eventually dies.
The window washer scampered back down in his bucket.
But not before he threw the carcasses at our feet
and bade us to pray over them, which we did.

Work from Boo: Ghosts and the Unconscious for Utopian Dreaming with Claire Donato & Adrian Shirk