We came out to watch the moon, a chalky,
corrugated paleness in the atmosphere.
We wore little, half naked in the balmy
air, foetid with the rot of grass and trees.
People climbed the cliffs to watch it shiver
back into the nebulae of smoke from the day’s
fires, the roads home melting back to rivers
of tar, littered with animals ventured away
from their homes in the dead hot light
of day, the hair on their backs stiff and dry
with nothing to salvage their flesh, or white
bones, not even the iridescent flies
breeding in the mud and dying in the night,
their wings glued together at birth.
The sound of febrile animals baying,
of wind hurtling through the dry earth.
In the slow heat of night, coyotes pawing
for water, all of us feverish, waiting
in a starless space. The cosmic light
of the sun never absolutely fading
out of the sky. A new earth without respite,
where we were always slowly burning.
Robin Tung earned her MFA from Johns Hopkins University and is the recipient of the Milton A. Saier Award. Her work has appeared in Basilica Review, The Labletter, NANO Fiction, and Sugar House Review.