Sunrise at Bryce Canyon

You're on the edge of a plateau overlooking a valley of hoodoos
dusted with remnants of yesterday's snowfall.
Predawn light is faint, cold; the air shivers in short gusts of wind.

In a century, the platform your feet are on will not be there,
eroded by air and water down the cliff face's arches
like frames of a cathedral's stained glass windows.

But before that

Inevitably, the universe will end; electrons will no longer spin around nuclei, and everything will stop.
 
 But before that, the Milk Way will be consumed by the blackhole at its core, leaving only void in its wake.
 
 But before that, the sun will swallow Earth as it grows into a red giant and explodes.
 
 But before that, living on Earth will no longer be sustainable; temperatures and sea levels will rise beyond the point of any coping mechanisms.
 
 But before that, you will die; a small tragedy on the scale of things, but a tragedy nonetheless.

About the Future

Sometimes,
when you think of the future,
you see all the branches—
          all the if-thens—
trunk to branch to stem.

Sometimes,
when you think of the future,
all the branches look barren—
no fruit or flower or leaf.

Somewhere,
in the temporal pathways,
you breech the outer bark,
prune branches.

Somewhere,
in the temporal pathways—
          if you squint—
on the edge of the smallest lateral,
a bud blooms.

Zugg’s Song

the road is long
horizon o’er horizon
the past is here
constantly dying

the flowers grow
in soil dry and rancid
the future’s gone
murky, cannot grasp it

these walls, these caves contain
the moments that have made us
flow in, flow out like air
these moments can suffocate us

if we let them
if we let them

This poem is part of a collection called Shards of Kardpaz, which are texts I’ve written for the world of the Dungeons & Dragons campaigns I run with students at my school.