In the Apocalypse: A Poem by Puma Perl

Photo by Puma Perl

It’s the apocalypse

Men fall in love with their wives

and their wives call their mothers

and check on the kids

and the men bake bread

and the women paint the ceiling


Partners live in houses

and watch movies together

or alone on different floors

They talk about what to eat

even more than before

and bicker about pizza

and the safety of fried rice


Or they live in apartments

or in studios or in basements

and they take walks in the park

or one of them is depressed

and one is hopeful because

they’ve learned to take turns

or they haven’t learned

and the hopeful one hates

the depressed one and vice versa


Or they were about to break up

and now they’re stuck together

Or they decided to cohabit

and it is a wonderful Baby

you and me against the world

or it is a terrible mistake

with nowhere to go


Or you live alone

and it’s not that different

from your former life

or it’s very different

from your former life

but at least you know how

to do it and are never bored

or you are always bored

because you were never home

You eat too much or too little

and can’t get in trouble

Well, maybe a little trouble

but you never drive drunk

and always practice safer sex


You prepared for the apocalypse

by buying eye makeup remover,

hair dye and five red lipsticks

which you carefully apply before

you get the mail or do the laundry

You miss the dog

more than most people

and only become fearful

when your son’s throat hurts

and your daughter panics

over your son


And you love from afar

which you often did anyway

The lives we are living

are the lives that we made

Only the sheltered

can shelter and zoom

and stream and text

and post photos of food

on social media


The lives lost and ruined

are not yet found

until everyone falls in love

with the earth and the air

and themselves and each other.


© puma perl, 03/23/2020

Puma Perl is a poet and writer, with five solo collections in print. The most recent is Birthdays Before and After (Beyond Baroque Books, 2019.) She is the producer/creator of Puma’s Pandemonium, which brings spoken word together with rock and roll, and she performs regularly with her band Puma Perl and Friends. She’s received three New York Press Association awards in recognition of her journalism, and is the recipient of the 2016 Acker Award in the category of writing. Her most recent books can be found by clicking here.

The writer and her latest work at the Gem Spa. | Photo courtesy of Puma Perl


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7 Responses to "In the Apocalypse: A Poem by Puma Perl"

  1. Puma   April 10, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    Obviously, I haven’t spent a lifetime living alone. Although you don’t have to live through something to get it or Wuthering Heights would never have been written.

  2. Brett   March 28, 2020 at 11:45 am

    Yes. This is all of us.

  3. Puma Perl   March 27, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    Thank you all for the comments. Love you, Puma

  4. Jon   March 27, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    Puma!!! It’s your nephew in Miami Jon! I can relate to this poem in many ways. Thank you and stay safe. Praying for you guys over there!

    • Puma   April 10, 2020 at 2:08 pm

      Hi, Jonathan! Thanks for commenting and thinking of us all! Love to you and family and hope you are well!

  5. Irene Karpathakis   March 25, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    I like!

  6. Bicycle Joe   March 25, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    So insightful to the human condition it’s hard to believe you live alone


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