The Hour in Which the Universe Begins to Die by Elizabeth Hamilton

I imagine it begins like this: Thousands
of red-winged blackbirds drop like hail
from the sky, their glossy bodies tumbling
from the black night, a flash of scarlet,
a beak, a claw. The dawn stumbles,

then breaks. What love will save us when
the earth shifts and all our continents heave
and heave until the world holds no
definitions? The words home and safe
are the first to go. They catch in our throats

as the hour begins its descent. The flood
finishes what we knew was true. Gone,
the spoons that hold our fingerprints.
Gone, the tender bookmarks. Gone, the baby’s
downy blanket, the one that carried his scent.


Elizabeth Hamilton teaches composition to mostly unwilling college freshman in Connecticut and is in the final year of an MFA program at Southern Connecticut State University. In her spare time she takes care of her four children and a 300-year-old house.