It begins with a rumble
as promised, and all tremble,
bent like knees,
trees fall like embers
and ash, horsemen
and their horses crashing
their hooves on flint, sparking
shoes, slabs of buildings
fall like tablets from
broken walls and tabernacles
a cross burns on the mountain,
riven rock, boiling seas, open
and empty graves,
all voices fail,
the stone’s blood at last, fall
of collapsing stars,
a crack in the ocean.

You kneel in prayer, stare
at the steely sky, the iron
stars, the nuclear indifference
of the space between galaxies.
Lines without length
mass without weight
time without duration
cross without junction.
Your hand traces the sides
of a circle, a belt of stars
that parse your fall, your disgrace,
the stasis, the place
you live now struck,
struck with pain, the story
ending now, nothing you can
do to stop the approaching
denouement where (when)
you sit alone in a home
not home to die.

John Calvin Hughes is published in numerous magazines and journals. His books are: The Novels and Short Stories of Frederick Barthelme, The Shape of Our Luck, Twilight of the Lesser Gods, Killing Rush and, Music from a Farther Room. Check him out at