A whole planet made of scar tissue: plates shifting and ripping, wounds oozing heat, closing up again. Science fiction is about starting over.
In hydrothermal vents: wonders, sulfur breathers, dark plumes. Unlawful life—this is what rises from blackest waters.
If we could evolve all over again, repeat our four billion years here, this is where it would begin—with what squeaked through before the land stitched itself back up.
The pressure ferments the new— things stranger than we are. When our air turns to methane, at last, they will rise from the deep and gulp it down, hungry for their turn. The earth
is more tender than we think—cool rock gives; a mountain range puckers, scars on a soft belly.
When you get scurvy, all the cuts you ever had reopen— the body eats what it made to hold you together, moths devouring patches from a mended shirt.
Continents drift together and back apart, if you are patient. We can’t erase anything in this life, but even the stars will hush and darken.
I’d rather be a starling, common, unwelcome, than give up my wings and wear a heavy crown, be a hoof-hearted noble of the forest. I’d rather spiral into the sun on the lift and sweep of the other birds’ wings. Even a frog may embrace the sky from a raptor’s claws— its tiny airborne moment to behold the earth below.
Kristen Hewitt is the poetry editor at Orion magazine. She attended the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, after graduating from Bates College. She has worked for the Farmers’ Almanac and the literary journal ecopoetics, and lives in western Massachusetts.