Back to Issue Thirty-Five

Ars Poetica for the End of the World



for Joya, February, and Cleo

I walk slowly into the apocalypse
holding my best friend’s hand. we move steady.

in the new world, I hope we all get bodies we feel safe in.
get to un-inform the world of how to kill us best. but here,

for now, trans folk die before their deadnames do. my mother
mourns a life fractured across the ocean.

leaving was a privilege. and still, she grieves the childhood
she left in Chile. and I, farthest away, choose a new name

my grandmother cannot pray for. I have stolen language.
nana cannot pronounce Charlie​ when she prays in Spanish.

I love her and cannot decide not to, even when she prays
wrong. transition and translation or transnational trauma hold

hands. I know the power of naming things. I often wish I didn’t.
femininity settles in its own debris. every woman in my family

wants to die. withering is the best performance of womanhood
I could do for them, and sometimes I pray for an escape.

other times I dread it—
but there is no use in speculating. the end is here.

my best friend and I stockpile clif bars and stay up late talking
about overthrowing the United States government. I am ready.

every woman in my family has already survived an apocalypse.
in theory, I am an artifact of borrowed time.

I would not have been born had my mother
kept her homeland. it’s just semantics.

shame is knowing New York gets my pronouns right
more often than my family. queer is a word too small.

I am too big for my body and everyone tells me I am doomed.
I am, in fact, doomed. in this world. post-apocalypse,

we set out to build a new one. for now:
this is a poem where no one dies. every body in motion

remains in motion. the end of the world is coming. I am free.
I survive. the apocalypse mid-scene right now. curtain call

for all my nonbinary friends. for every diasporic subject
and every body still rooted elsewhere. I imagine the apocalypse

will be easier than this. or at least I hope so.
I walk steady into the apocalypse holding my best friend’s hand,

reference books and a machete in our bag.
we pray for the demolition and the rebuild. how lovely it will be

to love them after the end of the world. how lovely
a future we’re alive in.


Charlie Blodnieks (they/them) is a poet, educator, and former Floridian currently residing in New York City. They are the former Editor-in-Chief of Quarto Magazine and a third-year member of the Barnard College Slam Poetry Team. They have previously published work in Muzzle Magazine and 4×4. Largely due to their Pisces moon and mercury, they believe the revolution begins with kindness (and that kindness isn’t necessarily soft). They love their houseplant Francis so much they got a tattoo of her.

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