We Get Smaller to Survive

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 

hunters, carnivorous 

dinosaurs. Herbivores like

sauropods and ornithischian dinosaurs 

were rare.”

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 

and small.


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


forgotten passings.


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

to birdsong.

What are you looking for?