Shaindel Beers is author of the poetry collections A Brief History of Time (Salt Publishing, 2009), The Children’s War and Other Poems (Salt, 2013), and Secure Your Own Mask (White Pine Press, 2018). Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She is currently an instructor of English at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon, in eastern Oregon’s high desert, and serves as poetry editor of Contrary.
New World, Post Pandemic
Let the deer think of us the way we think of them
with their wasting disease. The way we mourn the rhinos,
the elephants, the koalas after the bushfires. It is sad,
but not too sad, because it is not us, after all.
Let whatever comes after ponder us the way
we ponder the Neanderthals, the Denisovans,
grasping any link as a novelty, party small talk,
comparing fractions of DNA strands. Let the wolves
have Yellowstone; the bison, all of Nebraska.
The sand hill cranes can fly over fly over land,
safe from plane engines. Let the coyote take over
the hen house, let Whiskers scratch loose her belled collar,
let Rufus outrun his invisible fence. Give it all back.
We’re not needed. We had a good run—the way
we think of the dinosaurs, the giant sloth, the way
we wonder how something improbable as a terror bird
could have existed. Sure, the finches will miss
their feeders. They’ll find real thistles soon enough.