by Rhen Kent-Jaynes
Winner: 2023 Poetry Award
In college my friends had “apocalypse parties,”
nights of consuming rations left to one of us
by a paranoid prepper aunt who died of cancer.
Instant macaroni and cheap vodka, mostly.
A few summers back a girl I knew attended a camp
to practice survival in the Olympic rainforest.
One holiday weekend I drove to the mouth
of the Mississippi River. There’s a town called Venice
known as “The End of the World,”
but I could only reach the outskirts by car;
the road was submerged in brackish tide.
I turned back toward New Orleans. Later it came up
when I got tired of the same eyes every day
and started asking new questions, like,
“How far have you ever been from home?”
Rhen Kent-Jaynes (she/her) was an essential worker early in the pandemic and now works for a labor union. Her work has been featured in Oroboro, Angel City Review, and COAST|noCOAST. She lives in Seattle. Twitter @rkjaynes