We Get Smaller to Survive
Scientists have discovered three new species
of pterosaur in the Sahara.
A university spokeswoman said
“These flying beasts of prey soared above a world
of predators, crocodile-like
dinosaurs. Herbivores like
sauropods and ornithischian dinosaurs
Outside the bedroom window
a robin cuts the air,
a memory of vastness singing in its bones.
The world has turned once more predatory.
We huddle in our homes, make ourselves small;
huddle in the dark
places of our hearts and see monsters
Invisible claws stroke
deadly on each surface, waking
traces in the DNA,
our very atoms, that recall
the fear of being weak
The world shrinks to the O of a mixing bowl,
the lip of a plant pot,
the blinking eye of
a small screen, scrolling its knell.
I walk soft woodland paths to breathe clean air.
Each grain of soil reads like a braille of tragedy;
the silt and rot of years
Everything reeks of bleach and fear,
and the shadow of dark wings is vast,
and we are so small.
It has become a way of life to hide, and fear
is a dull ache like old hunger;
a slow wasting,
a fever that smoulders, growing, fading, growing again,
the tiresomeness of a cough that will not cease,
the grinding ache of muscles like
weariness of the world and then
a pale grey hue
of too little air, a plastic tang
of artificial ventilation.
Fear is a chemical coma where
hope dies drip
by saline drip.
Fear is a funeral evenly spaced.
We have grown so small
the gulf between us yawns
continents wide and
deserts of silence swallow us.
When we emerge, blinking from
the meteor’s wake, we
will find ourselves diminished,
dwindled like the dinosaurs, our
isolated lives fostering the island rule.
But comets pass
ice ages thaw and fear
will one day shrink