Conversations in art about ecological collapse and our place in the changing world

Conversation 26

Lawn Ornaments in the Anthropocene
Madeline Bassnett

August. Heat cakes the lawn
like tar. The lawn is penguins
and dinosaurs. The lawn is a crush of time,
future imploded, infolding the law
of gigantism. Cat-sized t-rex, copper backs
scooting among the towering emperors. Mesozoic
melt-age: shrinking ice-sheets, waters splintering
the shoreline. The unknown song of penguins.
Reconstructed roars erasing all we know
of language. How uncommonly loud
is the rest of the world. The wind scours waves,
whisks up eddies of sand, each small rasp audible
as the words I’m speaking. We aren’t made
for this heat. Let the others take it, the world
we manufactured, its concrete and tarmac,
deep-dug chambers sealed behind steel doors.
Let the wells run dry, let our unspeakable
mass compact into strata, undisturbed
cliffs sporting a new line to mark
a species’ passing. 

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