Love Song for the Plastic Bag by Karen Finneyfrock When they peak of you, their sandpaper lips scraping together, they use the phrase by-product as if it were a racial slur. “You are a by product of petroleum,” they say, like they would hunt down your kind and recycle you. “But I only ever wanted to carry your groceries,” you insist, as your spine slits and you spill the eggs all over the parking lot. “I never asked you to go to war over me.” You were born slick and new, so thin we could read books through your handles but still thick enough to suffocate a baby, strong like that. Your were born to the duty of transportation, a soprano in the Heavenly Choir of Merchandise, without you, we be a nation of people making multiple trips to the car. To re-use means we will use again, to line the trash can in the bathroom, or the bottom of the rabbit’s cage. If you are lucky, you will carry one sandwich form home to work. If you are chosen, you will cradle our muddy boots like a mother. Brazenly, some of you will escape. I have seen you floating down the highway like hitch hikers, dangling your feet from tree branches and telephone wires, flattening yourself, arms stretched against chain link, letting the breeze fill you like a sail, like a parachute, wishing a wind would come along strong enough to blow you up and out of these cities, back to where you came from, to the oil fields of your homeland, which you can only pray are not burning. The Facebook Sonnet Sherman Alexie Welcome to the endless high-school Reunion. Welcome to past friends And lovers, however kind or cruel. Let’s undervalue and unmend The present. Why can’t we pretend Every stage of life is the same? Let’s exhume, resume, and extend Childhood. Let’s play all the games That occupy the young. Let fame And shame intertwine. Let one’s search For God become public domain. Let church.com become our church Let’s sign up, sign in, and confess Here at the altar of loneliness. Magnitudes By Howard Nermerov Earth's wrath at our assaults is slow to come But relentless when it does. It has to do With catastrophic change, and with the limit At which one order more of magnitude Will bring us to a qualitative change And disasters drastically different From those we daily have to know about. As with the speed of light, where speed itself Becomes a limit and an absolute; As with the splitting of the atom And a little later of the nucleus; As with the millions rising into billions -The piker's kind in terms of money, yes, But a million square in terms of time and space As the universe grew vast while the earth Our habitat diminished to the size Of a billiard ball, both relative To the cosmos and to the numbers of ourselves, The doubling numbers, the earth could accommodate. We stand now in the place and limit of time Where hardest knowledge is turning into dream, And nightmares still confined in sleeping dark Seem on the point of bringing into day The sweating panic that starts the sleeper up. One or another nightmare may come true, And what to do then? What in the world to do? The Meteor’s Monologue by Alvin Lau Dear dinosaurs: this morning, you will live As you always have: your bellies full of carnivore dilemmas; your pumping blood slick as oil you will eventually become, your graceful necks never designed to look up. I am sorry I have to crush you. As sorry as a meteor can be, though giant balls of ice hurtling through the infinite universe are not known for their great ability to empathize. Guilt will fill a single basin along my dimpled face as I plummet into North America, flattening your families into mesozoic jelly, a giant reset button in the video game of existence. At least humans will treasure your bones, give you names your tiny brains could never imagine. Gawk at your old glory, faded under sand. Dover Beach BY MATTHEW ARNOLD The sea is calm tonight. The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits; on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, Listen! you hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in. Sophocles long ago Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern sea. The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled. But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world. Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.