Apocalypse in rustic pizza parlors
is tough to take, more so than in the street.
The comfortable smell of pepperoni
adds insult to extinction of mankind.
Outside, a broken bell or a grim basset
could swing portentous vibes, to harmonize
with swishing flames obliterating nations.
In pizzerias death is hard to see,
or too sophisticated: mozzarella
does raise cholesterol, and sausage links
call forth the silence of a slaughterhouse.
But those details are easily dismissed.
Photographs on the walls—Italian soccer,
eager bread bakers tutoring their sons—
don’t mesh with the worldwide release of tapeworms
or the Four Horsemen’s tragedy routine.
So if you get the sense the world is ending,
find other ways to grab last-minute snacks.
Go to the ocean, try to fish for oysters
while the dark currents carry you away—
and chances are the barbecuing Devil,
like Christ with His self-replicating fish,
will throw anchovies, salted to perfection,
in the deep dishes of your parting palms.
Originally from Moscow, Russia, Anton Yakovlev lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and works as a college textbook editor. He studied filmmaking and poetry at Harvard University. His work is published or forthcoming in The New Yorker, Fulcrum, American Arts Quarterly, Measure, The Raintown Review, The New Verse News and elsewhere. He is the author of chapbooks Neptune Court (The Operating System, 2015) and The Ghost of Grant Wood (Finishing Line Press, 2015). He has also directed several short films.