Photography © Bonnie Matthews Brock


The World Will End as Your Beard Ends

The world will end as your beard ends. One day,
at morning, tired, sick, forgetting what
you are, reverting to a younger way,
you’ll lather up your cheeks and chin, a rut
from long ago re-entered. Even pain
won’t shake you from this dream made real. All trace
of hair will slowly scrape away. You’ll crane
your neck and diligently scan your face:

the skin is smooth, the damage done. Your smile
doesn’t match your expectation. There
is something wrong, or missing, taken while
you were so distracted with your care.

A naked visage, all distinctions shorn
off one by one – but beards, at least, are mourned.


Donald Zirilli was a finalist for the James Tate Prize, was nominated for the Forward Prize, and edited Now Culture. His poetry swims in River Styx and other wetlands. He lives with wife and pets in pastoral New Jersey. His chapbook is Heaven’s Not For You, Kelsay Books, 2018.

Bonnie Matthews Brock is a Florida-based photographer, as well as a school psychologist. Her images have been published in Ibbetson Street, The Somerville Times, Oddball Magazine, Beyond Words Literary Magazine, and Wild Roof Journal. Her work is archived at Harvard University, the University of Buffalo, and Poets House in NYC. Bonnie loves to capture, in images, a very wide range of subjects, and to learn and experiment with shooting and editing techniques.