Beneath that flower-covered hill is a self-contained city
empty save for a couple of security guards staring mindlessly into monitors
waiting for the day when they’ll be asked to leave
make room for the people who get to live there come pouring in through the doors
carrying suitcases packed with things from their old life
inexplicably full of cash and jewelry that probably won’t mean anything here.
They won’t know about the field of wildflowers growing just overhead
drying and catching fire and blowing into ash as the sky turns red
they’ll tell each other how lucky they are to have made plans
how it’s too bad everyone else didn’t have the foresight to make a bomb shelter
or didn’t buy their way into this underground city of fake sunrises and seascapes
underground swimming pools and storerooms full of freeze-dried cake.
They will never be able to leave this place they’ve buried themselves in.
The door will never open again to the outside, there will never be an outside for them
to step out into, will not be a generation that feels sunlight on their shoulders
the smell of daisies and lilac in the wind. When the cake and the canned soups
the glass jars of blood-red beets and desiccated chicken nuggets are all gone
they’ll wish they’d stayed outside with us
turned instant to ash by an exploding sun.
Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Plainsongs, The Long Islander, and The Nashwaak Review. Her newest poetry collections include A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press), In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing), I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.), and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy (Alien Buddha Press).