asphalt, cracked and faded
stippled with yellow weeds
forcing their shaggy points toward the light
swings, slumbering silent
in the fall of topaz light
their chains eaten, pitted by iron oxide
the red dust sifts and falls
tiny dunes below are hidden witness

walls, once painted bright
stained now with age, and peeling
layers in strips and chips of color
a version of tree rings, or onions
or the ice that once grew in the north
capturing volcanic ash
and traces of airborne bacteria

inside, time and dereliction
has been no kinder
old crayon drawings
of houses, families, smiling suns and rainbows
wilt upon the dirty walls
and blackboards marked only
with faint chalk outlines
all that’s left of
childhood dreams

this is what remains
after decisions made and lies told
and humanity’s time has been taken
there are some left,
few and far between
hidden, like far-flung seeds
waiting only for warmth, light and water
to bring them back from the brink

extinction, it seems, is just a word
after all
and if nothing else
we leave our tracks behind us
one day we’ll look at the stick-figure family
and gaze in wonder
at all the bright smiling faces

Rose Blackthorn lives in the high mountain desert with her boyfriend and two dogs, Boo and Shadow. She spends her time writing, reading, being crafty, and photographing the surrounding wilderness. She is a member of the HWA and has appeared online and in print with multiple short stories and poetry. Her first poetry collection, Thorns, Hearts and Thistles, is available through Amazon.