The seas will sing with whales and dolphins,
The skies with clouds of birds,
The earth with frogs and insect life.
The sunsets, less red, will still be beautiful
in skies without contrails; the seas,
no longer bloomed incarnadine,
will stretch majestic over coastal cities.
Big cats and wolves will reign unchallenged;
elephants and giraffes, in great herds,
will trim and fertilize the savanna;
hippos will be lords of the rivers;
rhinos may still have a chance for a comeback.
And all the others—snakes, fish,
jackals, otter, hares, field mice, lizards,
manatees, platypuses, bats—
they’ll frolic and fight,
and die—without us.
Sure, for a time, plastics will remain a problem.
Invasive species will create strange, unbalanced niches—
the Southern US may be smothered in a fur of kudzu—
and forests will sometimes catch fire.
Still, we won’t be missed.
We call tyrants “monsters” and “inhuman,”
but there is always a genocide going on somewhere.
Such thoughts make possible extinction light—
until a strain of Mozart (for example)
tips the scales.
Lorna Wood is a teacher, musician, and writer, in Auburn, Alabama, with a Ph.D. in English from Yale. She is Concertmaster of the LaGrange, GA, Symphony, and her writing has appeared in places like Fevers of the Mind, Escape Wheel (great weather for MEDIA), the Litro [USA] Lab Podcast, and The Palgrave Handbook of Affect Studies and Textual Criticism. More information is available at amazon.com/author/lornawood, or at her blog, Word Music, here: https://lornawoodauthor.wordpress.com. Her Instagram handle is @lornawoodz.
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4 thoughts on “Without Us”
The probability that humans will become extinct is quite high, though when is far less certain. I do wonder how many of the other species of today will be around when that happens or if we will have destroyed most by then. A good thought-provoking poem.