A Poem for Apocalyptic Advents By Cassie Hartnett

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CW: Strong Language

It is not the end of the world, my therapist says, 

and I don’t believe her.

 

I read somewhere that maybe the mentally ill, the addicted, the over-dramatic, 

the vulnerable, the socially awkward, 

the crying-on-the-subway-at-2pm-on-a-Tuesday

might just be the canaries

 

The bright yellow birds in the darkness of the mine that are screaming and screaming 

for someone to hear them, 

saying this is wrong, this is fucked up, 

this is loneliness and brokenness and disconnection and death.

 

This is the end of the world.

 

About that day or hour no one knows, 

no one knows when the sun and the moon will go dark 

and the heavens will fall to the earth,

when suddenly we’ll turn around and the tectonic plates will have shifted, 

the cracks in the foundation will send rubble down into the caverns of the mines

where the canaries have been singing 

let us out let us out let us out

 

And we sing that song every day for weeks 

and we are the birds with bones too brittle for this world, 

with feathers that fall out and drift away on the breeze 

and we feel delicate and small and raw and vibrating 

because this is the end of the world.

 

So we watch. 

Jesus, you said to watch and I am watching every day. 

I’m watching so hard that I’m shaking on the phone and I can’t ride the subway 

and none of my friends are sure I’ve been eating. 

I’m keeping so alert that when my girlfriend’s phone dies I assume she has too 

and my therapist says 

why do you smile when you talk about wanting to disappear?

 

Jesus, you said to watch 

and so I am also watching the fig trees put forth their leaves 

and the babies that go out walking in the park, 

their little faces turned up towards the sky that stays just where it belongs 

and for a minute in the sun I think

 

Maybe the world goes on. 

And maybe I must stay awake to see it through.

 

 

Cassie Hartnett (she/her) grew up on the Connecticut shoreline and graduated from Union Theological Seminary in May 2019, where she studied psychology and religion, and wrote a new play for her thesis project. Previously, she studied at Barnard College and spent two years in the Twin Cities serving with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, including work with ReconcilingWorks. Cassie began her internship year at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Parkville, MD this August. In her spare time, she practices ballet and yoga, bakes excellent cookies, and can recommend a great queer young adult novel.”