Silently, like the wordless patience of a parent
with headstrong children, ice
held the ground under our feet together.
But since the permafrost began to melt,
it's been a Steven Spielberg world of exposed mammoth bones,
roller-coaster roads and crashing crockery
in the kitchens of tilting houses.
White blossoms with a shy, bridal look
explode from a plant thirty thousand years old,
returned to life by Russian botanists.
Whoever directs this movie strews the road
with horror flick surprises, as when
ancient anthrax revives zombie-like and
kills reindeer herders.
As the dead return,
the living vanish.
The forests of Costa Rica had a golden toad;
where is it now?
Something is no longer patient with us.
The melting ground opens now like a trunk
spilling relics from the basement of prehistory.
Then there was a future. This time no ark
will save the animals in the parade that passes by us:
the last Australian lemur possum in its soft white nimbus of fur.
The last Spanish blue butterfly.
The last narwhal.
The last moment to rewind: surely that has not passed.
But time travel is a struggle in this heat
and water is growing scarce, except when we hear
the despairing crack of a tree in a hurricane,
the cry of a drowning city.