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Letter to Someone Living Fifty Years From Now

Most likely, you think we hated the elephant,

the golden toad, the thylacine and all variations

of whale harpooned or hacked into extinction.

It must seem like we sought to leave you nothing

but benzene, mercury, the stomachs

of seagulls rippled with jet fuel and plastic.

You probably doubt that we were capable of joy,

but I assure you we were.

We still had the night sky back then,

and like our ancestors, we admired

its illuminated doodles

of scorpion outlines and upside-down ladles.

Absolutely, there were some forests left!

Absolutely, we still had some lakes!

I’m saying, it wasn’t all lead paint and sulfur dioxide.

There were bees back then, and they pollinated

a euphoria of flowers so we might

contemplate the great mysteries and finally ask,

“Hey guys, what’s transcendence?”

And then all the bees were dead.

from Constellation RouteFind more by Matthew Olzmann at the library

Copyright © 2022 Matthew Olzman
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Matthew Olzmann Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.