Scientists Say it’s Time to Prepare for Human Extinction by David B. Prather

—article title by Gwyn Wright, via

……………..             …..Let me make light
of the situation, travel to the nearest interstellar hotel.

I don’t want to be maudlin, but I’m going to pack
all my favorite mementos of mortality—a photo
of my grandmother, the last slice of chocolate cake,
and the only shirt that makes me look like I’ve got something
going on. Believe me, I know
…………..              ……..this is serious.

There are lakes drying out, spitting up bodies and boats.
There are fires so wild they scour towns
down to foundations and loose strings of smoke.
There are Arctic sharks vacationing in the Caribbean.

……………..             …..How am I supposed to feel
about extinction when I never saw a Dodo, never
rode a Quagga, never grieved a Cry Violet bloom?

Nothing we say or feel matters,
……………              …….except right now.
I want to believe we can save what little we have left.

And if we can’t, then maybe we can
be shrunk down, like dinosaurs to birds. I know
…………….             ……it’s not that simple,

but wouldn’t it be wonderful
to give up everything for wings and a song?

large white bird spreading wings
Mute Swans at Westport Lake by Wildlife Terry ( CC license.

David Prather
David B. Prather is the author of We Were Birds (Main Street Rag, 2019) and Shouting at an Empty House (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2023). His poetry collection, Bending Light with Bare Hands, is forthcoming from Fernwood Press in 2024. He lives in Parkersburg, W.Va.

Follow us!
Share this post with your friends.

One thought on “Scientists Say it’s Time to Prepare for Human Extinction by David B. Prather”

  1. Perhaps it is indeed time for us to shrink from dinosaurs to birds, to wing our way above a world that elephants and whales, should they become the caretakers, have wisdom enough, soul enough, to preserve.
    Thank you for this important poem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *