Ars Poetica for the End of the World
BY CHARLIE BLODNIEKS
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.