Isolating One’s Priorities in a Time of Crisis

Mass Extinction

we cannot know what evolutionary biologists will call this
age        we cannot know which of our offspring will survive
at night we count them and wonder        which one will it be
we search their sleeping faces for resistance    we are looking
for a future we will build with what we have left       we understand
that geological memory drives vertebrates        we know that once
we waited a million years to crawl towards water’s edge       we have
learned that observations produce evidence        and in each mass
extinction the emphasis is on the quick not the dead       we observe
long vacant cities teeming with rats and pigeons        dark seas replete
with giant jellyfish       we do not live in an elegant age we’re unable to
reproduce the cultured aesthetic of sheep in a ha-ha       aquatic swans
or the tenuous expansion of coral reefs        ours is an age of salination
desiccation       an interminable heat       we muster our resources unsure
of our end       our final ablation an offering       for the black holes who
hold our universe together


After the Sun Goes Out

and who could have imagined this cold
there is no more joy and no time for
simple pleasures like strawberry jam and
the other ways we spent our time as we
watched the last sputtering of light fall
towards us it took seven years for those
final flashes to reach the surface and the
whole time we dreamt of a superhero
or god who was coming to save us every
night we would warm our bread by the fire
and lather it with strawberry jam as if to say
we are not afraid of the hypothetical dark



we practice adapting to anything       the disintegration of locks the pitfalls of growing hydroponic lettuces
loose dogs in the alley       today there are purple circles floating in the stratosphere       we can tell they’re
cylindrical       a deduction made from our knowledge of opacity and shade       whether the circles are really purple       we do not know       purple is only what we see and       what we have learned about light particles is
they bear witness to the limits of our perception       much like our children’s refusal to believe us when
we tell them that limes grew on trees       how succulent limes were       tree limes and all the luscious things
belong elsewhere       ancient remnants of a forgotten anointing




Image: Zane Lee.