Jennifer Cary Diers

let's imagine together


No really. Pretty soon. In the meantime, here is some poetry:



do you love to eat the sun

does it taste

like eggs soft


like olive

oil like

the town you grew up in

on the coast of maine

where sun is a cele


like lobster

like stars

starfish swimming and feast

ing on oysters

arms wrapped to crack

the creak

of dockline and age

rustling sails of ships which

dream of sail


under that cracked

open sun

do you love that

                    that sun?


They said the bombs were a precaution. He said/she said, “Mass destruction.” Threats in the sky and buried under the ground. The clamshell game—spinning hands too fast for civilian eyes to see, and where is the danger hiding now. Until everyone has nothing, we must have everything. Safety in numbers.

When the first bomb dropped, it drank the air and belched out smoke.

When the second bomb dropped, we were ready. We wore our masks—took the remade smoke into our lungs. We closed our eyes. We let the heat cook us inside our hazmat suits. Precautions. We drank the water after big city filtration, and we got used to the taste of ozone.

But the third bomb hit a college campus. Long range. The crater was oil-slick-smooth and cut like glass. No bodies to bury. Nobody to bury them. Flakes of black dropping on every roof, every field, every snow-melt stream. Hundreds of black-body turtles bobbing on the surface of the lake in the park, rotting in the open air. Flies like low-slung, rattling clouds. The dogs went deaf. The stores stopped carrying suits and masks.

A baby was born. No limbs. Small jaw. Ribs made of papier-mâché. The next one didn’t breathe at all.

And then the babies stopped coming. It took time to notice. The world was black-flake fear—we had a lot on our minds. The men who met in The Hague screamed at each other about resources. They cried on TV. It took time to draw up agreements. To learn how to give up.

The bombs dug a crater in the ground, and in the gut. Our insides were cooked. Rotting.

A baby was born. It breathed, but could not see. She was the last.

Sluggish streams choked with strange-shaped fish. Cold summers and arctic winters. Scientists scrambling to reboot our systems. The sky used to be blue, they said, but the teachers, like the children, could not remember. Children who became brides, and their wedding cake tasted like desperation, but the babies couldn’t make babies, either. There were no more children. We grew them up.

He said/she said, “End of days,” and we were prophetic.

The scramble slowed. Every funeral became a fearful blessing. We could not feed these small-jawed mouths. There weren’t enough masks to go around. The men who used to meet in The Hague now told us about eternal life. About sin. About Gods who could save us, though not from death. We prayed before we went to sleep, and we did not dream of waking. We made ourselves scarce.

When the sea stopped breathing, the sky forgot how to cry. We followed suit—gray faces cloudy, and catatonic. We stopped wearing our masks, stopped taking precautions. Our teeth fell into our throats, but we did not smile anyway. We spit shrapnel. We gave up on Gods, and on governments. We learned how to give up.

The bombs were a precaution, they said.


       god knows—


i ate myself

to death.



         the toilet ate

me too…



       i fed him sandwiches





                 and teeth.



I know nobody asked the question

But I still need to speak the answer

I still need to speak the answer

Because nobody asked the question

I don’t remember my first kiss


Have been kissing me

Since my mouth started stringing

Three syllables together

I let them

I have been kissed the way

A lion takes down a gazelle


With piston-tongue

Robotic and unfeeling and taking me apart at the seams


Like we were both shoved out the airlock

Like we are dying

Like our blood is boiling

Like the breath inside my lungs is the only air left in the universe

And the kiss is taking it from me

I have been kissed

In anger

When the kiss is a loaded gun

And I keep my hands up, trembling


With tears on both our faces

Wet, wrung-out, spent



Because we kept it secret

Lips and hands telling each other lies

Careful fingernails

Because we couldn’t leave a mark


When the kiss meant nothing


When it meant

“You are nothing”

And I know

There were beautiful kisses, too

Kisses like kindling

Like confessions whispered in the dark

Tentative, halting lips

Landing like bees

The buzz and the honey-sweet taste of it

Kisses that were more than kissing


A language of skin and slide and

Fireplace crackling behind our eyes

I know

Some of these, I remember, too

I have been kissed

When nobody asked the question

I think, mostly,

When nobody asked the question

I don’t remember being asked



people live down here

you know

at the bottom

sometimes the slide is steep enough

it’s almost like falling

a cliff-jump

a cave-dive

sometimes it’s softer

a body buried beneath the sand

at first

you wriggle toes and fingers

the sand is sunwarm

you can hear the tide

regular as your own heartbeat

it feels safe


you trust your own strength to dig out

before the pressure puts your skin to sleep

sometimes you do it too

you’ve crawled out of this before


the sand is sunwarm

regular as your own heartbeat

it feels safe


sometimes there aren’t any rocks at the bottom

just darkness

the quiet and the weight

and your toes and fingers can’t help you


you trust your own own strength until

the tingling turns to nothing

nothing nothing more

sometimes you suffocate

and it’s almost like falling


sometimes you learn to breathe the sand

fill your lungs and blood and gut

turn yourself into stone

a cliff-face

a cave-dweller

alive the way volcanoes live

on fire even while they are sleeping


you watch them falling from below

and you are sharp

and you are stone

not every

body wakes up

All original words and images are property of Jennifer Cary Diers.

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