This is how the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper
from "The Hollow Men"
by T.S. Eliot
It will not begin
with angels peeling back the sky
as if they were opening a can of sardines.
Commuter trains will still leave New Haven on time
and find an underground home at Grand Central.
Elevators in cathedrals of glass and steel
will carry souls down through Dante’s nine circles of hell
so they can crowd the deli or find the apartment
on the Upper East Side rented to a pseudonym.
The Color Guard will parade down Main
on the Fourth of July, and the high strutters in white boots
will serve lemonade while Charon sits idle,
waiting to ferry drunken hardware clerks
down the River Lethe nine miles past Kansas
farms and fields.
The general populace will march deeper into quicksand
or find itself knee-deep in swamp sedge
until the sky is indeed gone and darkness closes like a fist.
The firmament will disappear, though by
but only as a result of disinherited angels
who turn off their alarm clocks, shave, eat breakfast,
and learn that it is nine minutes past Armageddon.