Poem of the Month
A Short History of Disasters

By Ken Victor

Published on October 2, 2019

First, we’re expelled from the garden, then 
slavery, the ten plagues beginning your disaster
is my miracle (“and so the Red Sea rose up”), 
Pompeii leaving a crusty museum, the Black 
Death sweeping Europe under its rug of sputum 
and pus, the ocean’s white tooth rising from
its dark gums to crack the Titanic, then Cindy 
ditching me when I was seventeen and not 
ready for ditching, Chernobyl and Bhopal,
all quiet on the balmy beaches of Phuket,
Haiti tossed into the blender, hurricanes and 
quakes, and then the entire menu of prophesies 
laid out like a buffet, Nostradamus, the Aztecs, 
the Doom-Man handing out leaflets at 41st and 
Avenue of the Americas, Armageddon Online, 
my best friend’s diagnosis like a death sentence 
(hell, it IS a death sentence), my son’s marriage, 
the mess arising from the over-reach of power, 
the knock on the door, the nervous soldiers, 
everything we know changing in an instant. 

More Poetry

Insurance Claim

Here’s how it panned out:
the stick of dynamite,
thrown on the pond
to break up ice for trout


I would cut off my own thumb for the perfect thimbleful
of wood-ear mushroom and bamboo shoot soup.

My paychecks all go to heirloom parsnips and pickled lamb tongues.
I dream of singed pigs’ feet, pearly cartilage and crisp skin.