On New Year’s Eve
five thousand blue nudes fell dead
in Beebe, a small Arkansas town.
It was all over the news—
everyone woke New Year’s Day to naked bodies
strewn over cold concrete and yards.

The blue nudes dropped onto mailboxes, dented cars,
their busts posed with spines bent
backward, bare to winter.

One blue nude fell onto a woman walking her dog around midnight.
It both shocked and depressed her.

Experts say
it might have been fireworks
that frightened the nudes,
unable to see in the darkness of a coming year.

Is this the end?

Reporters go away, scientists
explain, artists weep,
poets write poems about miners
and canaries­—they try to create a myth
or metaphor to understand—

the ending contains blue fingers over blue faces,
a feeling that we’ll all go on with life
even as doomsayer rolls
off grainy tongues,

the results are coming in.

The experts collect and count
the bodies, while a mother counts the number
on her lawn. She tells her children not to play
with the poor, dead things.
Copyright © 2004–2023 Memorious