Invite the virus in. It won’t
ask permission. Sweat.
The whole world smells of it.
Men drive machines made of claws
and teeth. They stalk
like wild dogs.
The farther they wander
into the forest,
the smaller it gets.
Fools with dark
open mouths—all the pink
drained out.
There’s cancer
in every river. Every flower:
a dollar.
Lie down.
Heave this stone
straight up.
Heave harder.
Hundreds of blackbirds
fall from the sky. The ocean
is burning. The man on the sidewalk
says God will kill us all,
and because I can’t seem to
make myself love him, I hope
he is right. Dusk cups
its death-blue palms
over the top of this town.
The morning glories turn
their blue eyes
away from the world.

Derek Annis is a poet from Spokane, Washington, who holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University. Their poems have appeared in The Account, Barrow Street, Colorado Review, Crab Creek Review, Fugue, The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review: Poem of the Week, and Spillway, among others.