(photo of RC deWinter)




after the apocalypse (I)

in the place of my return
there was no returning
that which had been swept away
by the great adjourning
leaving embers dying
in spasms of their burning




after the apocalypse (II)

someone opened the cage
letting loose the menagerie
i want to run away
but there is nowhere to hide
all safety has been breached

i stand on a flat open plain
and for the first time realize
how alone i truly am

unable to avoid the sharpbeaked birds
pecking at my mind
while werecats gnaw my heart
and a maddened elephant
stomps a pas seul on my soul




opening night


having been told on good authority

that all the world’s a stage

i bought my ticket for the show –

paid cash in good faith,

arrived at the appointed time.

yet here i sit,

an audience of one, in a theater empty but for


i hear no twanging of an orchestra tuning up,

no bustling bodies readying their places backstage.

the curtain hangs before me


falling in folds

as an expensive frock caresses the sagging chest

of a stuffy matron.

i have no program and

where are the players?

i paid, dammit – i paid!

so entertain me, world.

show me the colors of rainbow.

play me the music of the cosmos.

prove that there is more to life

than waiting for the curtain

to arise.




the disturbance of memory


you loved me once,

at least i think you did.

you reached out with your arm

and took for me the moon,

and placed it in my hands.


your eyes shone like the stars,

your smile a boy’s, made new

by spring’s green birth,

and promised with it what

your words could never say.


but now as i look back

i wonder, in my heart,

if what i saw was real

or simply my desire

for what i needed then.




that awkward moment when you realize you're standing alone on an empty stage
completely irrelevant

a brilliant flash
an insight you must share
something that will change the lives
of millions
so you give your name
to the karaoke master
you're not even nervous
you know you'll bring down the house
when you claim the stage
you wait
barely able to contain yourself
because what you have to say
is so important
so relevant
    (and though nothing is original
    and this has probably been said before
    no one has ever expressed it
    as you will
    plumbed the depths of its meaning
    as you will
    delivered the message
    in quite the way you will)
you feel almost like a savior
at last you get the eye
you're on!
colored lights flash
the crowd presses forward
more enthusiastic
or perhaps just drunker than most
sit at your feet
now speak!

just as you open your mouth
a terrible siren wails
loud enough to make ears bleed
almost palpable in it immediacy
it is the doomsday clock
nuclear midnight chimes
and all is not well
the crowd goes wild
but not for you
they're shoving
and trampling each other
in the rush to the doors
breaking windows in the heat of escape
and there you are
trapped in
(please reread the title)


© RC deWinter


RC deWinter is a writer/digital artist whose poetry has been anthologized in “New York City Haiku,” (NY Times) and Uno: A Poetry Anthology,” (Verian Thomas) and featured in print in 2River View, Pink Panther Magazine, Another Sun, Plum Ruby Review as well as in numerous online publications. Her art has been published as well, and was licensed as set decor for the ABC TV series "Desperate Housewives."