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Tell Me the Story of Something Ending

By Matthew Roy in Issue Thirteen, January 2024

Tell me the story of something ending, she said at the campfire,
The story of something that tastes like vinegar
And crunches like beetle shells between my teeth.

He drew in a breath and thought of trivia nights and dead-eyed Zoom call stares
And certifications and diplomas that meant nothing—
Just ink and wood pulp, better now for kindling than anything else.

She watched him as he thought of the global riots and work stoppages,
The trashing of corporate offices and the liberation of the sweatshops,
How we pulled the statues down. We’d been so desperate and hopeful,

But it all had been too late.

The fascists still held their fiefdoms and the environment
Was collapsing, unrecoverable. The floods couldn’t douse the wildfires,
And the billionaire oligarchs had already escaped to Mars.

He looked at her and said, I’ll tell you the story
Of raindrops that drum and rattle on the rust
Of ancient trailer parks and dead satellite dishes.

And I’ll tell you the story of the leftover souls that glow
Like the flashbulb afterburns, distant and fading images,
Lonely as whale songs in the deep.

I’ll tell you a story, he said, of Twenty-First Century life,
Of holding on too long to the things we should have let go of,
For we were frozen; surely there were worst years than these.

I’ll tell you my stories if you tell me yours, he said,
How you made it through all this and found your way to me.

© Matthew Roy 2024

Matthew Roy

Matthew Roy (he/him) lives in the American Midwest. He recently moved from a small town to a big city, from a rambling farmhouse to a small apartment, and from a major corporation to an up-and-comer. He's writing more. He's making changes. He got a dog. He's neck-deep in revisions on his first novel and banging away at his second. His speculative poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Eternal Haunted Summer, Illumen Magazine, Penumbric Speculative Fiction Mag, The Quarter(ly) Journal, The Sprawl Mag, and Star*Line. Find him at https://matthewstevenroy.wixsite.com/matthewroywriter and on X (formerly Twitter) @mattroywriter.

Poetry by Matthew Roy
  • Tell Me the Story of Something Ending