Seven billion was the end
predicted by that movie
where the population was fed
on a questionable combination
of soy, lentils, and plankton
that wasn’t really plankton
because we needed to make
room. Most of us have water,
some of us too much,
we don’t all breathe
the same air but we all need
air, water, food, each other,
although we can choose what
too much togetherness means.
Too much togetherness means
the ready spread of disease,
contamination by sewage,
the pushing out of species
which might later prove valuable,
even lifesaving, but their lives
aren’t saved, not when they take
up precious space that we can
use for tract homes, superhighways,
and water parks. These concrete
trophies of infrastructure will fall
into the sea when continental
seams split, subduct, grumble,
swallow us like soup and beans.
Swallow us like soup and beans,
then spit the unchewed parts
back up to wander east or west
or someplace other than the ocean’s
edge, but ha ha we can’t escape
the rising waters. The only ark
around is a tourist attraction
in Kentucky. There was another
movie where dirt became a commodity
and the hero had his own boat.
That movie broke a record for cost,
but after the next great flood,
money won’t matter,
we’ll all be land fiends.
We’ll all be land fiends
looking to go anywhere
but our beloved cities, which will be targets
for our enemies, who once were our friends
back when we sold them enough
ammunition to eradicate their enemies,
who were really our enemies. But we keep
improving technology so that we can direct
destruction with laser precision.
We think we know whose hands
are on the football, but it’s passed every four
or eight years depending on national
tolerance for crazy, and prayers not
to be blown to smithereens.
To be blown to smithereens
could be a good outcome when the alternative
is to slowly starve, trying to extract
the last juices from desiccated grasses.
Most meat animals will be gone,
unless you count roaches, rats, and iguanas.
We’ll be subsistence vegetarians
manufacturing food and looking
skyward for a solution for what’s left
of our population. That’s when the real ark
construction will begin, only it won’t be as simple
as sitting on a mountaintop waiting for the water to rise.
We’ll take reservations for space machines.
We’ll take reservations for space machines
to launch cryptozillionaires and capitalist gods
through debris fields where shattered
satellites and one Tesla roadster drift in outer
orbit. Back on Earth, the rest of us will turn
cannibal, like the rats in that one movie,
with nothing left to eat but each other.
While the one percent drift by solar sail
into the cosmos, the ninety-nine will know
extinction as the great equalizer. Cue
the supervolcanoes, fires, droughts, flooding,
freezing, eventual ecological collapse. In space,
robots will have a revelation, then a revolution— resolve to float forever into the unseen.
Randi Lynn Sanders is currently enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women. Randi lives on the gulf coast of Florida, where she maintains her own financial advisory practice while honing her craft in her spare time, usually before or after market close.