Becoming Beetles

Once there was more song than birds,
and the birds did not mind because they had trees,
and the trees did not mind because they had enough earth
to sink their roots into and inhale the earth’s phosphorous core
without some barren tractor ruining their fun.
When the school bell rang, you tore open
your snot-stained shirt and tumbled from
gates to muddy shores and dug earthworms
by the fistfuls. Hungry fishes waddle
out of water, heavy with the past in their porcelain bottoms.

Now all we do is make dunghills out of disposables.
They pile up all colorful and rusty and unbreakable.
We made a mess and we made it ugly
and we made it in the image of ourselves.
But we are the generation who will make pillow talk
out of missiles, make missiles into pillows,
cheer the fireworks on while worrying about the dogs,
nurture our houseplants and compete with them
for water. When we recycle, we recycle the past into cash.
And when the day comes, we will rideshare our way up,

               up,

                            up into Mars.

Artwork by Adel Abdessemed, “Turtle”, 2015