An immense eye was looking for us,
but we hid among stars, in a nebula of red dust.
When that gaze swept over us, we were just rocks.
Once we could unfold again, we grazed on the green
sky. The clouds brightened over a glittering mass
of excitement. Once the light had done its work,
filaments bored downward to their doom.
In a pale lake, black basalt columns reflected
below gray messengers swarming through
purple firmament above fluted cliffs upon cliffs,
under a melting moon. That sky made us
hungrier than ever, and then we had to hide
from the eye again. We were getting tired
of mountains, but at least the sky was pink
for a short time, before it became ridiculously
orange. We have hidden too well. We can’t
find ourselves anymore.
We’d heard that painting our house blue
would repel them, but we could only
afford to paint the doors and window frames.
They came in under the eaves.
We woke in absolute darkness, choking.
They were sucking the air out of the rooms.
They said we wouldn’t need it anymore,
where we were going.
They sat on our chests, staring into our eyes,
and held us pinned to our beds, immobile,
until we couldn’t help falling asleep again.
We had nightmares.
When we woke, they were going through
our closets and drawers, packing whatever
we would need: belts, thimbles, skewers.
We ate breakfast in a hurry.
All the essentials were put in grocery bags
and boxes, piled high in the living room.
They wouldn’t let us go to the bathroom;
they said there was no time.
We asked them to wait for our parents
and friends. But out the window we saw
the doors of every house standing open.
The streets were deserted.
We heard what sounded like roaring
from a long way off. The earth shook;
we began to tremble and pixellate.
Our lips dissolved last.
F. J. Bergmann edits poetry for Mobius: The Journal of Social Change and imagines tragedies on or near exoplanets. Work appears irregularly in Abyss & Apex, Analog, Asimov's, and elsewhere in the alphabet. A Catalogue of the Further Suns won the 2017 Gold Line Press poetry chapbook contest and the 2018 SFPA Elgin Chapbook Award.