Todd Kaneko

Train Wreck

You say the end will be a jumble
of bones, a skeleton scrambled
and left for the dogs.

I say the whole damn cemetery
can be upheaved for the occasion.

Behind us, the railroad tracks lead
back to those places we’ve escaped:

rusty cage, prison hutch, junky town—
that hellhole and snakepit

we called home for decades
about to become gorgeous rubble.

I say we close our eyes and rush
headlong into oblivion. I say let it
crumble beneath our boots.

You say the apocalypse is a cheap way
to end a song, an easy devastation.

I say, out there is a boy with no idea
what to do with his body. He steals pills.

He carves his name into his arm
with razors. He is devoted to strangers
who don’t know enough to love him back.

You say we should stop—the end
is a good place to find quiet.

I say let’s rumble on as long as we can,
past the point where pain is a deterrent
to survival, where our cymbal crash
and guitar fuzz and high-pitched wailing
are proof of life while the end awaits us.


W. Todd Kaneko is the author of the Dead Wrestler Elegies (Curbside Splendor, 2014). His poems, essays and stories have appeared in Bellingham Review, Los Angeles Review, Barrelhouse, the Normal School, NANO Fiction, the Collagist and many other places. A recipient of fellowships from Kundiman and the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, he co-edits Waxwing magazine and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he teaches at Grand Valley State University.

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