The end of all things

by Freya Jackson

Artwork, “Untitled” by Mary Cozens

& the newscasters do not break

down, when they speak, they

are so used to agony

they have grown a second skin. They

have been trained for this,

their voices are even. They equivocate,

even at the end, reports suggest,

perhaps, a month, perhaps,

less perhaps, we are waiting

for confirmation, for the gods,

for it is only at home that they sluice

off their masks and bathe in their

quiet griefs. Even the apocalypse

cults are surprised. They still feel a

strange tang of loss, though

they counted the days, read the

scripture. They were correct,

I guess, it’s strange

watching them interviewed on

the news, the new

establishment the end of all

things is coming,

has come.

I found out when I was walking

ten miles of

quiet in every direction and

the After-Brian dog sniffling

at my feet, I wanted

to call him Not-Brian but the children

pitched a fit, so we called

him Toby instead. My palms were

stained with blackberry

juice, the wild kind; I want to like

wild blackberries but they

have too much bitterness, a pervading

sense of uncleanness and

a strangeness to the taste.

Preserved blackberries are better,

softer, sweeter – but I wanted

to learn to love difficult

things. My phone started

ringing, with five missed calls

flashing on the screen. The

world is ending, they

say, the world is ending, it’s time

mum, I guess. I guess,

it’s time. Tim is so much like

his father, like this, his

calm voice,

the open wood behind, the wound

in my throat re-stitches

itself to fit his come home,

mum, come home. Brian is gone,

the house is sold

I’m not even sure where home

is, anymore. Come home,

mum, Tim says, come home.

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