• The Survival Expo

    Caki Wilkinson

    Spring 2020

    It’s mostly men inside the Agricenter,
    pricing seed vaults and metal shelters, knives
    and MREs spread over dressed up tables
    like alms for fraught apostles—Take, eat
    and we expected this, my friend and I,
    but came in anyway, for fun, I guess,
    except, to me, it feels a little like a test
    to prove how out of place we aren’t,
    which, I’ll acknowledge, is flaw of mine,
    this tendency to double down, pretending
    things are fine, a tactical response,
    like when my friend tells me she’s feeling better
    and all I do is compliment her hair,
    how thick it’s growing in, how glad I am,
    before I train my focus on the rep
    selling disaster rations made for pets—
    taste-tested, he explains, on cats, since dogs
    will eat whatever, but cats are picky bastards—
    and see, his pack will hold a month’s supply,
    and here’s a pocket for your gas mask,
    and here’s a pamphlet about chemtrails too …
    But it’s the truth we’re sorely unprepared
    for even minor hazards, acts of god
    and whatnot, living as we do along
    a semi-dormant fault in Tennessee,

    Caki Wilkinson is the author of the poetry collections Circles Where the Head Should Be (2011) and The Wynona Stone Poems (2015).  New poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in the New Yorker, the Nation, the Yale Review, and Kenyon Review. She lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

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