The United States will slide into the ocean at 3:45,
says my friend’s older brother, and he shows us the pictures
of land crumbling like a cookie dunked too long in milk.â¨
Too terrified to cry, I run down our long dirt drive
and fumble with the key in the back door’s lock.
The waves pick me up as they sweep over Wisconsin,â¨â¨
the state I found on the map in history class
when we learned about glaciers that carved the land,
voyageurs, immigrants, Native Americans,â¨
and the sizes of record wheels of cheese.
Watching the waters take my dad’s rusted truck,
my cat Streusel, my favorite tree, â¨
I swim ready with an answer if anyone asks
how they can place me back on the map:
I live in the Badger State in the US of A.â¨
I remember the starred flag of each school morning
and my heart beating softly beneath my hand—
unlike now, when everything is not anything I know.
“End of Days” first appeared in issue No. 27 of Natural Bridge and is reprinted here by permission of the author. Jennifer Fandel is a native of Eau Claire who currently lives in St. Louis. To learn more about her, visit www.jenniferfandel.com