United

We heard the Earth die

thirteen minutes late,

broadcasters bleeding into static,

our isolation wrought by clichés.

Mushroom clouds and escalation.

 

We are rootless.

Settlers who came to draw

the barest outline of mankind

now practice necromancy,

forcing life from Martian soil, and treasure

from fool’s gold.

 

Conflict has been our inheritance

since the Romans saw blood red

and named it for their god of war.

We came here as rivals, claiming lands

careful distances apart,

homeworld nations replayed

under new skies.

 

Now borders turn to vapour

like our homeworld.

United we stand.

Uneasy, but we stand.

 

This was a Featured Entry on Hour of Write’s ‘United We Stand’ competition, in which you had one hour to respond to the prompt.

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United

Seventy metres

A honeybee’s sting
smells of banana,
a sweet call
to swarm.
Fear made us gather
in those slowing years, hordes
that fled to high places
‘til they turned to coast,
‘til hills plunged to oceans
and grass became sand.

Originally published by Life Plus 2 Meters, a digital and print project that aims to get people thinking about adapting to climate change.

Seventy metres

one dot six one eight

When I was young, and spiteful,

I held my brother’s toy through the window

and let it fall the shortest path,

headed for a six year old’s revenge.

 

I don’t know the laws that govern descent.

Regardless, they drive soft cotton flesh to meet

scraps of lawn

with sharp precision.

 

And there are laws that govern growth.

When plants grow towards the light they too

follow the path

which leads them soonest to their goal.

 

I see this on my sill,

a rose with golden sunlight on its green,

and golden numbers

in the spiral of its red

 

Beauty and efficiency can be kin,

but I do not see efficiency

in the down of your ear,

or the curve of your calf.

You could be governed by nothing so harsh,

even though I am falling for you

by the shortest path.

 

Originally published by AYLY, and Oxford Magazine.

one dot six one eight

old growth

humanity’s death started as a fashion.

bodies stained dollar bill green,

and cells verdant with foreign genes

growing into us, as ivy grows

into old brick.

 

escape from city life

with the clean air seeping from your pores.

greenhouse gases – now your slaves, and your sugars.

better to farm yourself than to rape the earth.

saving the world – a side-effect of free food,

and guilt-free minds.

 

but those seeds took root too deep.

forests grew from our flesh, swollen and rough.

when it rips, count rings –

new skin for each year passed.

 

hands that once held chainsaws and coffee cups,

now splintered.

a cascade of skeleton branches, and leaves

quivering with sunrise

that bleed when broken.

 

This placed in the finals of the Parallel Universe Poetry Competition.

old growth