I know what the end of the world sounds like. It sounds like someone you love saying your name like a four-letter word. An unaccustomed silence when you arrive home from work. The voice on the answering machine you can no longer hear anywhere else And I know what the end of the world feels like. It feels like pressing the erase button on that machine because it’s the sensible thing to do. Dropping the kids’ old toys at Goodwill after cleaning the basement. Naked as the second finger on your left hand after giving back the ring. I know what the end of the world smells like. It smells like the bouquet of fear, bright flowers, and disinfectant at Sloan-Kettering. The trace of perfume on the pillow case you just can't bring yourself to wash. The scent of menthol cigarettes that you still associate with sex. I know what the end of the world tastes like. It tastes of a misplaced lover’s kiss whose flavor your body just won’t forget The constant metallic tang on your tongue after your third round of chemo. The last bite of the discontinued candied yam brand you loved at six. And I know what the end of the world looks like. It looks like a sad face on a pregnancy test for the sixteenth time. The football game recorded over the only tape of your daughter’s first steps. The oak door in your face when Daddy called you a fag and threw you out. The end of the world, some things you just can't forget. a hand struggling to hold the lead weight of the wide world collapsing on the end of a pin, to the ear a bang and a whimper to the eye an inconspicuous puff of dust, and to the mind a split second feeling of something gone awry.