top of page

Pietà in Reverse (for Earth). flash fiction.

I awake abruptly to hard pouring rain outside my open window. I feel the wet corner of my mattress slightly cool my warm fingertips as I rise from bed. I’ve grown used to these sorts of surprises. I am packing my things for school but I notice the intense warmth and lack of electricity in my room. I look at my phone only at 15% and shut it down out of cautiousness. The bathroom is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. I step out and return with a thick blue sweater. I have to use the plunger’s wooden end to break the ice layer in the toilet bowl. The sink is frozen shut. I casually open my fridge and it's become a dense, saturated rainforest. All the food has been reverting to the seed it originated from. For breakfast I munch on an apple with peanut butter and oats in almond milk. But the apple that seemed juicy yesterday tastes more unripe than expected. The peanut butter is a lot crunchier. The oats taste raw. The milk tastes a lot more nutty. I pick up the phone and an unknown voice tells me we are all running out of time and then changes his tone to tell me to tell me we have all the time in the world. I call my friend to check in on him and he tells me about how his mint leaves tastes a lot sweeter and younger.

I walk outside and the clear sunny day yields a moon and stars. As if the sky had lost its atmosphere. I grow tense. It's cold out here too. I hear the snow falling onto the cars on the freeway. The sky blackens but the burgers in driver’s hands are bleeding water and antibiotics and crops and dark blood. The rich people’s money (which most of the world will never touch) is screaming, silently. I do not know why I know these facts. I just do. Given the dire circumstances at hand, this comes as no surprise.

Everyone has an ecosystem forming in their vehicles. The weather is changing behind every closed and open door. My housemate's car had a desert inside of it. I once heard on his car radio the sun is expanding because of all the ways “civilized” humans poison each other and the air we breathe. I board the bus and I'm lucky the temperature resembles a sunny meadow. Of course they wouldn't want plants invading this small public space. I step outside and smog permeates the thick humid air. I have to use a face mask. I do not think of this astronomical doom but I am shocked by the unexpected hurricane in the library bathroom.

I couldn't help but write all this as a warning. I can't seem to figure out how to navigate the nerves in my head, always haunted. Always modulated by undertones of environmental destruction. Climate chaos. Will the sky cave in on itself and suffocate us from the fossils we used for fuel? The sun grows faster than is comprehensible but the trees aren't on fire. It feels like 60 degrees outside. Half the sky is raining hard but nothing is getting wet. I'm remembering how the politician on TV says youth are the future for the fate of the planet. He offers his agreeable hope but we want action. His office is a grassy meadow. Everyone else’s drying meadows have been burning before they started growing.

The tall trees are half their size here, I've found online images of my hometown, trees almost completely turned into seeds. I can imagine them crunching under my feet as I walk the streets to work. Splitting open and forgotten, never to sprout. I do not listen to the back of my occipital lobe demanding we do something. I do not listen to how the leaves crunch under my feet signify tides of fall season. Its autumnal beauty a stranger to my irises. I do not ask myself why the “civilized” do not recognize this divine being. Pachamama... pachamama... pacha... mama...

Mama... mama!!!

There's a mother on fire in the streets trying as best she can to cradle her dying baby in her arms. Funny how I don't think about how it’s a dystopian Pietà in reverse. Child unscathed but awaiting for overhead vultures to scavenge the finale of its life.

I arrive at the garden I work at and taste the mint leaves. They are in fact sweeter and younger. I take some to put my in my salad I packed for lunch. Our weeds are smaller and our tree branches are turning green. I do not wonder how much time we actually have left. The version of me that does wonder this ponders if the ones most responsible for this will suffer the most. The version of me that does wonder this holds hope in his arms and watches it die in flames. He wonders if he or anyone else he loves is next. He ponders revolution. All these versions of him and more taste the mint.

Still, I’m left with a bittersweet aftertaste in my mouth.

"REWRITTEN" Poetry Chapbook Out Now!

5 views0 comments
bottom of page