Mutual Denominator

by Cathryn Shea

Remember the time before windows were stained glass.
Before white smoke from the chapel chimney.
A scorpion suspended in amber,
the prehistoric shadows of nothing,
sheen of forever.
Unzip the chromosomes
for progeny.
What kills is never what we plan for
but I know that’s false.
It’s the never that is false.
Eyes unearthed, at least we (not just I) know
there’s an end to earthliness
(humanity’s mutual denominator)
in this fractured lineage of belief.
The crackle, amperage humming,
warp and gap where we celebrate
and mourn people and anything that did
and did not happen.
I’m happy to leave suddenly
unplanned, toward dirt
waving a peace sign
at the apocalypse.
Backstage behind the velvet curtain,
the clank of a door.
This ambiguous space.
The same blink of brief.