Epilogue

If we survive
our descendants may look back
on the decline
of our “civilized” empire
and wonder:
Did they know?
When they realized,
were they kind?
Or did they
scratch each other bloody
with dull, infected claws?

After the EMPs and EFTs
and AIs and IEDs
they’ll wonder about us:
Did they try to stop it?
Were there no prophets?
How were their wise ones ignorant
of what our little ones understand:

That no human survives alone
nor thrives when the few
have too much.
That all the children reap the harvest
of all the ancestors’ seeds.
That we need the rivers and trees,
the rain and rotting soil,
the butterflies and sunrise
far more than they need us.
And all life
is finite.

They will stand where they imagine
our graves might lie,
asking,
yet hear only silence.

Still, my ghost will call out
from beneath roots and shoots
and centuries of sediment:
Yes, we did.
But we were too few and too late.

You still have time.
The Earth awaits,
indifferent.

© S. Rinderle, October 2022