The Exterminating Angel

Anton Yakovlev

7 pm, and the year’s second thunderstorm
            thrashes their underpriced home.
What is he looking at, ghostly and reticent,
out the grand window? Is that a tomb
under that swing set toppled by animals
            out by the tall creaking larch?

What is she looking at? Why is she shivering?
Why does that tricycle rust on the porch?
Maples are covered with eyes made of raindrops
            blinking across the road.
Who are they? Each other’s personal vampires?
Why is she shivering? It’s not that cold!

Why is she tapping her nail-bitten fingers on
            the cracked exit sign by the door?
What is he thinking? Why is he lingering?
Doesn’t he see she’s not there anymore?
What do they want with that broken-down fortune-
            telling machine? What’s their plan?

Dinosaur puzzle instructions lie crumpled.
Jigsaw bits crunch, crunch, crunch in his hand.
There is no painting of this, and no signature.
            There is no God anymore.
(What was she doing, that girl in the liquor store,
when she looked past them and locked the front door?)

Deafening water—this rain is a psychopath!
            Maybe the roof will leak.
Why is she fidgeting? Why is he fidgeting?
When was the last time they knew how to speak?
No explanations, no compasses. Dusk has been
            drowned like a duck in a war.

Why are his eyes closed? Why is she dancing now?
Ghosts of old rattles crawl on the floor.
Maples, cracked barns, rusty bridges. Cracked elegance.
Weasels nod off in the gutted grist mill.
Rain lashes trees at indefinite angles.
            Roadkill slides down the hill.