Later Than You Think
The moment the blinds are raised, there’s nothing to see
but the moon’s broken headlight. I never answered the phone
and you never made the call. All the grackles on the powerlines,
all the grackles on the patio tables, torn Stevia packets
dangling from their beaks. The schools have been closed
for weeks, the restaurants have been closed
from midnight to ten a.m., and the grackles have never
stopped screaming their own names. The cat’s play of feathers
on the lawn. The car’s play of fur on the street. The cosplay
of Functional Human after months of being filed away.
The doctor’s test only proves you’re infected. The ice-hot needle
and the swollen apple of ache under the skin. The accurate warning
arrived too late. The sun came up, and we flooded the streets.
It was hate. With every breath, every word, we tried to tell it straight.
Andrew Kozma’s poems have appeared in Blackbird, Redactions, and Contemporary Verse 2, while his fiction has been published in Lamplight, Daily Science Fiction, and Analog. His book of poems, City of Regret (Zone 3 Press, 2007), won the Zone 3 First Book Award, and his second book, Orphanotrophia, was published in 2021 by Cobalt Press.