Touring The Earth Gallery

By Jennifer Foerster

Chicks—dead in a once teeming reef
and a mother bird
scouring ghostly coral.

We dozed, broke our machines.

Extreme heat, intensifying rain
will bring the island states’ collapse,
a fast decline of sea grass.

Our time period is one of
glacial isostatic adjustment.

In the third chamber, dust
daily rearranged into pastoral scenes:

beach strewn with radioactive crustaceans—

“The Woman at Repose
with the Sea Behind Her.”

Note that it is not the woman’s
figure that is kinetic
but the structures above her:

fugitive lightning,
skeleton of a Dodo bird.

There, where a poet scrapes
her tail across tundra—

see the sand blowing over
her last regret.

She dips her quill into a pigment jar,
scrawls her forecast across the clouds:

neon-blue antlers,
cellular squid.

Smacked into glass
that resembled the sky—a sparrow
sleeps on its side in the dirt,

yellow-feathered, wind-stuffed.

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