Running Out of Air

By | 15 May 2023

After Bertolt Brecht

From the cities we escape
in vehicles laden, but quickly
abandon them

On highways and back roads
leaving doors open and keys
in ignitions. We take

That which we can carry—
babies, animals, their wide
eyes questioning our resolve, everything.

On sides of roads youths
and middle-aged men explode
fuel tanks, as the props of their lives

Are lost—abandoned. Tweens
traipse behind asking, what have you

No one answers, the old women
count wrinkles on their hands, look
what’s done is done…

Like coral in reefs all that’s left
are thorns,
the flood has come—taken all.

Remember councils, they pulled all
the fruit trees we planted
along verges.

And the child in her pram points to plumes
of dust; we eat fire and heat. Scientists
think of how to measure now machines

Have ceased and whether water drinks light
more or less, now it’s so humid, so hot.

Is anyone up there, can they see
if we’re running out of air?

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