written by Utnapištim circa 2088 CE
(recovered from the Catalogue of the Muses)
…………in the cruel afterwind which has become of the lungs of the left behind, one will find particulates of gold & planetesimals of silicon, skyscrapers floating in the gyre in their entire, whole genomes of diseases & inorganic seeds that burn to the touch.
…………the breath of the inferno is one, heaving in turn.
…. the light of the world is the dimming sun, somehow hotter, blazing down on melting rocks & the twisted carcasses of rivers & lakes.
…………grand flames like ragged ridges of towering mountains & great big globs of leisurely devastation mixed with the fear & greed of the mortal heart in the age of the dollar & dime so that the roots of destruction run deeper than the deepest tomb & deeper still until a vast underground network of death & mayhem links every land & thought to the other, a thousand underworlds crammed together in the tunnels of the hollowing earth waiting for the living to join the dead & the flames to devour their memory.
…………the only memory the universe has is deadstars hanging in the firmament like living graves but we are not stars & this is not the firmament. our memory is Life & is Living, our memory is mortal: this whole life is a fresh remembrance.
Mathew Yates (they/them) is a poet & artist from Paducah, Kentucky with roots in Mississippi & Appalachia. Their poetry can be found in Kissing Dynamite, Screen Door Review, Malarkey Books, perhappened, & more. Their art can be found on the cover & inside the 2021 release stanzas for four hands: an ophanim by Mathilda Cullen & Dominick Knowles. Buy their art here.