Our first place award for the Adaptations of Survival category this July goes to Tabitha Lanyon – Congratulations!
The Growing by Tabitha Lanyon
Come kneel at the shore, child.
Come write your mild prophecies on the border, mired
among strange and restless scrap shackles screaming
like paper chains from the houses on the cliffsides.
Cliff face tower built of human scrap.
Obscure cliff face, brown, burning and glinting.
Scrub the scorching shore with tender palms and never reach the sand.
Do it alone. Do it in the dark. Do it with your hands behind your back.
Do it silently. Don’t try too hard.
Do it part-way. Leave it unfinished.
Beautify twisted grey faces of plastic debris
drowning. Let them drown and clot.
The child, bystander, exchanged homeward ties,
for claustrophobia and the hot, close horizon.
The leisure now. The breaking after.
The dam breaking, the floods.
The claustrophobia. The closer horizon.
Not firm enough, not fast enough to change,
too slow for survival in the dying water.
But come here to the arm of the ocean and kneel by the shallows, little one,
come watch this bright fellow, this weird microscopic bloom;
the time’s not spent yet, and each wave corrodes the slime with
keen, easing breaths that kill and revive.
The toxic cracking shackles dissolve sweetly into each other,
as the invisible water mushroom molds itself
into the spaces that need it most.
Watch, little one, how the hyphae threads net
our centuries of layered waste and
tear them down bottom-up.
Revealing the quiet shells. The empty beachfront.
The mushrooms cultivating themselves to exude bitter poison.
Whatever is needed to sweep their cool threshold free and breezy.
What would you do with toxins like that?
Eat plastic raw from the shore.