An End-of-the-World Cult of My Own

One day I will have my own end-of-the-world cult.
We will believe that the end of the world
is coming tomorrow,
and that we had better be prepared.
If the end doesn’t come tomorrow,
we will admit our mistake, and post the correction,
that the end has been postponed by a day, on our website.
We will do this repeatedly, as needed.
And we will take responsibility for our errors.
We will apologize, we will
make amends by doing work in the community—
any place that can accept how we shave
the tops of our heads, refuse to bathe,
and constantly whistle the tune “My Way”
as we go about our daily business.
As leader, I will set the proper tone for our cult,
set an example for our members to follow.
I will also create a brand that will help our cult
be recognized as the greatest of all end-of-the-world cults.
Unlike other cult leaders, though,
I won’t be sleeping with half of my members—
that’s too much of a cliché.
And I will be warm as a winter blanket when they are cold,
cool as a strong breeze from the west when they feel faint
from the heat of a brutal summer.
But every now and then, when the moon
is a curved sliver in visible space,
when my members look at me expecting
a quick and comfortable answer,
I will give them the evil eye,
just so they’ll remember that this is still a cult,
that I’m in charge,
and that this is how, like seeds planted in early spring,
we begin to grow.

–Jose Padua


Poetry

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