How lucky that nature’s not around the bend

or apoplectic and doesn’t ever need

fentanyl or dope to make the end

more bearable. Things do die violently,

of course, but hurt is never the intent.

The creatures of the field, even the bugs,

they all must all eat—each other. That moment

when the quick is rendered into food—a plug

of meat, some bloody ribs, or just a bare

bone—is hard for us, but a chinchilla

in the Andes isn’t poor and won’t despair

at being eaten up. It isn’t thrilled

at getting caught, but the moment soon passes

like the shadow of a cloud along the cliffs.




We sat together in the dark

and talked about those other worlds

Enrico Fermi thought might be

awash with aliens


because his numbers pointed up

the likelihood of teeming life

among the stars. But where, alas,

did everybody go?


You’d think, perhaps, the prodigies

would come to us or play upon

our signals and reciprocate

—though not if they were bugs.


It could be that they flamed out

the same way we might disappear,

in Malthusian catastrophes

we bring upon ourselves,


or maybe, by design, they’ve gone

to hide beyond Andromeda

because they realized long ago

how frequently we lie.


We’re not worth knowing in the end,

a filthy, biomechanical,

weapons-bearing form of life

that builds amusement parks.


Of all the heavens haven’t said,

the best by far I think is this,

that we, together in the dark,

aspire not to care.


John Foy’s first book is Techne’s Clearinghouse (Zoo Press). His poems are featured in the Swallow Anthology of New American Poets and have appeared widely in journals and online. He has poems forthcoming in The Hudson Review and Rabbit Ears – An Anthology of TV Poems. He has been a guest-blogger for The Best American Poetry. Visit him at






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