I’m pretty ready
to be a comet
no-one cares about

the alchemists
are all dead

who even needs
a sign these days
do you

do you need
a sign why
are you looking
to the sky 

have you tired
of the dead planets
the dead presidents

you have committed
your eyes to 

are you inured
to the earthly fire
still coming


even when
the grass is razed
to stubble
language will find
us dancing
in the kitchen
the kitchen
full of flames
like a pantomime
okay so
the characters
are unreal
but what spectacle
asks for honest
colour flame is
a misnomer
for the selves
we unshouldered
to walk
out unscathed


my terror now extends
to animals of the deep sea
which is to say
lobster hatcheries are great
boxed wells of fear
I threw myself a pity party
the northeast passage
came in under the door
soaking the welcome mat
talking in a loud voice
about the year it spent
getting in the way of things
starting a new epoch
takes breakages
in that way
even easy pain
is a kind of continental drift
like how
you are suddenly asleep
at your lurching oak desk
in a manner terrible
for your posture
but what do I know
except how to
be afraid of every sign

Caroline Crew edits ILK journal. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Bat City Review, PANK, Cream City Review, and Salt Hill Journal, among others. She wrote the chapbooks small colours like wild tongues (dancing girl press, 2013), and, with Chris Emslie, Your Stupid Fortune Gives Me Stupid Hope (Furniture Press Books, forthcoming 2014). Currently, she lives between Old England and New England.

Chris Emslie is assistant editor at ILK journal. His poems have appeared / are forthcoming in Whiskey Island, The Pinch, Phantom Limb & elsewhere. With Caroline Crew, he is co-author of the chapbook Your Stupid Fortune Gives Me Stupid Hope (Furniture Press Books, forthcoming 2014). He lives in Tuscaloosa, where he is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama.