Last Light

by Janet Phelan


They gathered together to kill each other.

Still beating, the hearts were torn from the chest

and eaten

while their bodies were thrown from the temple steps

for the beasts to consume.


The reasons were many:

the neighbouring peoples were bellicose

and the gods must be appeased.

These were the simplest explanations, although not

the most honest. The stories that came down to the elect

were clear—only by sacrifice would the universe

maintain its coordinates. Everything eats something

and this dimension demands to be fed.


The rainfall stopped. The corn blackened in the fields

The conquerors came

and in revulsion, killed the killers. The practices continued on

with different protocols

under the mantle of the new order.


And the rainfall stopped. And the tsunamis began.

And the earth began to move, first shifting her weight

from side to side, then with larger and more violent distress


And no one saw the upheaval in other dimensions

The giant form of a sorrowful God crashing to his knees

as the lights went out in the sky

and galaxies rippled forth from the point of impact

his voice echoing through the spheres (though not ours)



The photograph of you in the yellowing album

Looking up with surprise as the photographer (who loved you)


and somehow caught your soul

smiling with the incandescent joy

of one who has arrived

to find things just as she had dreamed of

your hands just so on the hips

which would give birth to the one


who would rise up and kill her


how could she know


I’m ready to lay down my pen.

Maybe in some future time

travelers will take heed

of the devastation that followed

the weapons lying in the empty field

gleaming in the sun

from the smallest projectile

to the silos buried deep underground

Maybe they will take note

that the food, the water, the herbs

were poisoned and fouled


and that no one survived

the final sacrifice


In the evening

as the light fails

I can almost see her now

she gets more substantial every day

hovering in my doorway

smiling and radiant

bits of star stuff caught in her hair


beckoning me home




Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist whose articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The San Bernardino County Sentinel, The Santa Monica Daily Press, The American’s Bulletin, Sovereign Mind Magazine and other regional and national publications. Janet focuses on issues pertaining to the legal system, ranging from the heated subject of adult conservatorship– revealing shocking information about the relationships between courts and shady financial consultants –to international arms treaties. She maintains a special interest in eugenics. Her poetry has been published in Gambit, Libera, Applezaba Review, Nausea One and other magazines. Her first book, The Hitler Poems, was published in 2005. She currently resides in the Yucatán.



photo by Dan Griffin