After 3 Days

by Jonathan Greenhause

“Fish & visitors stink after 3 days.” 
                                                                - Benjamin Franklin 

On the 4th day, the visitors spontaneously combust, 
& on the 5th day, a fluorescent green aura 
hovers above their ashes. After 2 weeks, pilgrims arrive 
with dried marigolds & sea salt. Approaching a month, earth sunders, 
swallows the neighborhood whole. Soon afterward, 
God appears, isn’t recognized because 
no one was expecting a porcupine. The villagers 
slaughter God, reengineer the quills as writing instruments. Years go by, 
people still attending churches, temples, & mosques, unaware 
God is dead. Fishermen go on strike, 
simultaneously protest the government’s strict limits on catch 
& the ocean’s plummeting stock. This morning, 
guests show up on our dusty doorstep bearing gifts, so we shower them 
in asbestos, fling them & their flapping salmon 
back into the river, watch unmoved 
as they bob up & down, hoping to visit us upstream.

About the Author

Jonathan Greenhause was the winner of the Telluride Institute’s 2020 Fischer Poetry Prize, and his poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in  FreeFall, The Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry, The New Guard, New York Quarterly, Poetry East, and RHINO.