Monday Morning Escape Route

One leg like an elevator still moving
between floors lifts outside my apartment door
when I open it to leave for work on Monday
morning. The opposite limb comes down
in the parking lot, scattering cars.
Alarms shriek in protest; the offended
leg owner out-roars them all
in reply. I step forward dumb,
my head falls back, my jaw hangs.
A mountain under tough brown hide scaly
and wrinkled walks above me and blots out
the sun. The sun isn’t the only light;
my eyes bob like boats to a wide breach
tall as city skyline piercing the usual
scene like a ragged wound and bleeding
out the past: flocks of flying reptiles,
stampeding scaled beasts like featherless turkeys
taller than ostriches, frantic
brutes with bigger teeth, more lumbering land
shakers stepping over scurrying critters underfoot,
buildings in the complex, and a tricycle.
The air smells of jungle, shit, sweat, fire.
There’s ash, too. Screaming neighbors.
Misplaced stone feet and sharp claws. Shaking.
All those mouths carrying all those teeth.
I sit on my ass on the concrete walkway. I pull out
my phone. I won’t be coming to work today,
I type. Seems 65 million years ago happens today,
too. Send. I’m not worried about
being fired. Stepped on. Eaten.
Burnt to a crisp if the breach
doesn’t close in time. In Time. Behind them
in glimpses between smoke and ash, fire rages
and glowing globs of liquid rock plop
lazily from the sky to the quickening
ground heaving up and down and side to side.
The migrants stumble and some don’t get up
again but those who can keep coming
for the welcome blue light and fresh air
this side of time. Their only escape route.
It’s a matter of time. The morning commute
outside my front door is hell. Send.

#NaPoWriMo 2017 Day 8


I love doors as thresholds to the bizarre. This is the second piece I’ve written about unexpected happenings happening outside my door; the first was “If Everyone Was Standing Outside My Door.” This time I went with dinosaurs. It’s a silly idea, so the challenge was to keep the idea alive with imagery and action.

This poem feels less well done than some of my other poems this month. It feels like there is room for more ideas, more images, more sound and gory details. I don’t think I came up with a good ending. The end needs another beat, a surprise, a twist, something more than what I currently have.

But this is where I leave April 8th: with a piece that needs further development someday.

Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet living in Tucson, Arizona. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files“.