“What Will Survive” by Tom C. Hunley

1) Sunlight wrapped around a violet like a wealthy woman’s bejeweled dress.

2) Shards of ice floating on a river, mirrors for clouds to shave by.

3) Every atom belonging to me, to you, but maybe not our yen for dollars.

4) Scorpions, who can slow their metabolism to survive on one insect per year.

5) Music, that holy silence just after ceasefire. Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”
but probably not the band Survivor.

6) Social class distinctions, sadly. Social distancing, probably not.

7) Shaky hands finally settling down. The handshake, not likely.

8) Ants, who kill the infected before a virus can spread across their hill.

9) Mountains and their coldness, their hardness, their way of taking your breath
and making of it a prayer.

10) The human heart, unharmed, though homeless as a hermit crab.

11) Keith Richards.

12) The echo of church bells ringing — but not one word uttered by a televangelist.

14) Superstition.

15) The television show Survivor. Television, but not for long.

16) Questions will survive. But what about declarations?

17) Smooth stones sung to by rain.

18) Raindrops sunbathing on smooth stones.

19) Twinkies, but probably not our custom of eating birthday cake after someone blows out

20) Poetry, though it be written in the cadences of cockroaches and mud minnows. Also
Larkin’s line What will survive of us is love tattooed on whatever skin is left to find.

Tom C. Hunley won the 2020 Rattle Chapbook Prize and the 2020 SmokeLong Quarterly AWP Microfiction Award, so the year wasn’t a total bust for him. In March 2021, C&R Press released What Feels Like Love: New and Selected Poems.

Image: “way out” by Nicole Monroe

Special Feature: F2020

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