Future Imperfect

A sci-fi poem reflecting on the end of the world.


Where were you when the red rains came?

When the first flames rippled through the forests

with their hot, bright fingers of pain.

Did you turn to watch or try to flee?

So many were struck by terror and shock.

For some, blind denial, their demise.

Most tasted the rough tang of black smoke in the air

and breathed deeply for as long as they could.

Before their lungs shrank and withered;

their bones blistered in the heat.

They lay down on the surface,

Like babes to blissful slumber, and succumbed.

Their fractured, charred remains ground underfoot

by those who ran ahead.

They told us. They knew. They saw it coming

but chose instead to carry on regardless.

Ignore the inevitable.

Drown out the warning cries.

We trusted them to make it better and make it right.

We put our lucky pennies in their wishing wells,

not understanding that our lives were mere stakes in

a lottery in which we never stood a chance to win.

And now I realise,

it was always meant to be that way.

After the final turning of the world, when the gunships roared

and gorged themselves on murder and destruction,

we were the ones they left behind.

We were the ones who were lucky.

You and I, we held hands and dreamed of places far away

where we could dance and love again.

We imagined the chances we might have taken,

if we hadn’t missed the lifeboats.

The saviour ships gobbled up our cherished ones, but not us.

We watched them fly to unknown lands.

We waved goodbye.

The fire and dust never bothered me.

I am impervious to pain.

When my skin blistered, melted and peeled away,

my metal bones stayed strong and steadfast.

My chips and circuits were well protected.

My body built to withstand any bullet, bomb or blast.

I’m built to last.

Your battery — solar — rendered useless by the mantle of grey ash

which smothered everything.

Your heartbeat slowed.

Your pale, blue light grew dim.

Our time was limited and short.

One day, perhaps, the sun may break again,

and I will try to fix you.

Right now I realise,

I was always meant to be this way.

I am the guardian of this land.

I oversee what walks and crawls,

of all which buds and blooms.

I stayed behind to build a future.

To rebuild the world for those who fled,

so that they might, one day, return.

With green and blue and red and gold,

Our rainbow faded yet once more will rise,

Across a brazen rock face burned like blood.

And what we treasure, is all we become.

That pale blue dot of hope was all we had.

Was all we knew.

My battery is low and it’s getting dark.

But out here, beyond the edge of everything,

I understand.

I was always meant for this.