if it blackened
the world
smudged charcoal
where it landed
our planet, stranded,
and blue marbled black
would spin
as ever
through space

if it made
an impression
a recession of skin
on each person
who breathed
its black chalkiness in
we’d walk, marked
silent within
these tattoos would say
no closer

if it closed
our schools
and stores
and work
and with its black tendrils
its slow seeping lurked

into the fragility
of systems
cracking the thin glass
of our stability
and with terrible agility
it sunk into
the way we

hold hands

into the way we band
lips pressed
weathering a crisis
like this