IT IS THE FUTURE

artwork; six rusted colored squares

And the world is coming to—the world is coming to an end. My father, the President, has launched a nuclear strike against Russia. He’d forgotten what that little red button does. I seek him out in his chambers and am surprised to find he still knows me. He gasps in pleasure as he points to my face. Do you realize what you’ve done? I say. He moans and points to himself.

 

We see the aftermath on the network news. We feel it. We’ve invented tactile vision. A firestorm races across the globe, red and carnivorous, blooming on our screens and blowing through us, leaving skeletons and shadows where people once stood. We burn with the heat, our bodies itching for the realest TV we’ve ever seen, our bony hands pressed to the glass for more life.

 

Near Vladivostok, a young girl opens her laptop with blackened thumbs. Wrangling tinfoil antennae, she connects to the internet, sending messages to friends and followers around the world. She assures them she’ll be alright. From across the snowy red mountains, we echo her words back. We go so far as to promise.

 

In the moonscape that rings his Dorchester flat, the blinded poet daydreams about the end of the world, the tender backs of his eyelids glowing orange then black. In his mind, the world has composed a perfect sonnet.

 

We catalog what he sees. We are surveilling his thoughts.

 

The unfurling of a parchment scroll. The sagging molasses of stained glass windows. Then a dragonfly. The opalescent sheen of the wings. The cellular mesh that forms the bladed teardrops.

 

It buzzes on our tongues.

 

When we speak, the light pours from our mouths and blinds us.

 

White then hot, upon the wind, across the rippling red grasslands—something is coming. It blows the dandelion piffle from the stalks and turns them to light. We keep growing.

 

We will greet the white dawn like this. Without sound.

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