Roads and roofs were melting in England and China and Texas and, really, all over the planet. Salvador Dali must be laughing or crying in his grave—probably both—at this dripping, oozing world. But he would be weeping much more than laughing, huge, distorted tears that drown cities.

The invasion of Ukraine blended with the brutal heat, sucking what joy remained from Alfred’s daily life. Reports strafed the news of the bombing of civilians; the missiles fired on hospitals; a pregnant woman on the streets, her belly swollen as if straining to give birth to a better world while bombs exploded around her; whole rows of apartment houses reduced to ash wastelands, as vanished as the elk and fox spirits that had danced through the woodlands surrounding Alfred and Eva’s cottage.

“I’m worried about your health,” said Eva. “You’re the last person I’d ever think would become an alcoholic, but it’s happening before my eyes.”

“Nobody is listening. Humanity is doomed.”

“Everything has to end some time.”

“But not in the next few decades. The Doomsday Clock puts us at 100 seconds to midnight. It’s a kind of group suicide.”

“You’re committing a kind of individual suicide. For no reason. There’s nothing we can do to change events. Let’s just try and enjoy life as much as we can.”

Alfred’s boss had the character to fire him in “virtual” person via a Zoom call, not by e-mail. He was most terrified of what Eva would think, but her response was terse: “What took them so long”?



Ethan Goffman

Ethan Goffman’s first volume of poetry, Words for Things Left Unsaid, was published by Kelsay Books in March of 2020.  His poems and flash fiction have appeared in Alien Buddha, Ariel Chart, BlazeVox, Bradlaugh’s Finger, Burgeon, EarthTalk, The Loch Raven Review, Mad Swirl, Madness Muse, Ramingo’s Blog, The Raw Art Review, Setu, Verse Virtual and elsewhere.  Ethan is co-founder of It Takes a Community, a Montgomery College initiative bringing poetry to students and local residents.  He is also founder and producer of the Poetry & Planet podcast on


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, November 3, 2022 - 22:23