Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Cast of a Smokestack - Adam Atkinson

It's the future, and there are future men
in jumpsuits walking through a forest
behind a little future girl's house.

They've just excavated an enormous
smokestack from underground, and they're carrying it
away with laserbeams. The little girl's parents
get big bags of money from the government,
and the mother is jumping up and down.

When everything calms down, the little girl slips
away to the forest clearing. It is the largest hole
she has ever seen. Looking at the hole is like looking down
the barrel of a gun, but there aren't any guns in the future
so the girl climbs in like an innocent little bullet.

The shape of the smokestack's ladder, scaling
the height of the hole, is perfectly preserved in a cast
of soil, leaving little notches for little fingers.
Each day the girl climbs down a little further before
she second guesses herself and climbs up again.

Finally she reaches the bottom, and it smells like chemicals,
but things don't smell like chemicals in the future
so she lights a match to get a better look and bursts into flame.
The girl is now a hot cloud of smoke, shooting into the sky
at rapid speed. She expands and expands until she looms.

The little future girl has never loomed before. Everyone
looks up at the only dark cloud in the clean future sky;
her mother, her father, her dog, the future men in pantsuits
who are now in a neighbor's forest and have put down
their laserbeams to look up, everyone. It's the best feeling.

The girl knows she will die soon, but for now she expands
and expands. She looks down on the earth and watches
as her shadow grows larger than any of the holes in the ground.

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