The End of the Anthropocene
By Damaris Zehner
Picture a car, speeding along a highway in the morning.
A voice on the radio is gabbling about some crisis.
The driver’s cell phone is on, lying on the console next to her;
She’s shouting at someone. In her hand is fast food,
Wrapped in greasy yellow paper.
A coffee cup in its holder develops waves
As the car swings onto a street slick with tar –
A tunnel through skyscrapers, smog,
Car horns, wires, and metal signs.
Picture behind the car, miles away, then closer, then closer still,
A wall of water surging faster than a car can drive.
Trying to change lanes, swearing at the traffic,
The driver looks in the mirror.
Like Pharaoh on the Red Sea floor, like Noah’s neighbors,
She sees the future become her present.
A rush of water through the city canyons,
A jumble of cars stirred into foam –
The wall moves on.
Picture: on the surface of a silent sea, oil spreads its peacock tail.
Cars, a couch, bottles, bags, one purple Croc, a paper diaper
Like snags in a river, like compound fractures,
Office buildings, phone poles, and billboards break the surface.
The car sinks, releasing one last gasp of air;
The couch subsides. The garbage drifts on.
Slowly the snags tip, then crumble,
Splashing briefly as they succumb.
Photo by Neil Cummings at Flickr. Creative Commons License