• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 09

School Trip to the Old World

Welcome to the first world, citizens.
Step carefully over the dust, mind the fragile fossilised tree –
Use your InfoPad to see a picture of a living example – don’t scream –
And do not under any circumstances touch anything,
This world is one colossal war grave, show some respect, girl,
Take pictures, follow the authorised path,
You’ll soon get the hang of gravity,
Exit through the gift shop,
Do not remove your respirator
Until we are safe in the last zoo’s geodome atmosphere
Wherein her stasis-field lives slowly
The last cow on Earth
(Or indeed anyplace in the solar system).
Interestingly you can see she is fed
With vitamin-enriched plasma
Injected through a canula –
No, no, they are not tears, just conditioned reflexes, son –
And try not to vomit at the thought of your grandparents
Eating its flesh or drinking from its body,
Just thank your lucky stars for vat-grown meat.
Amusingly, our forebears named her Cassandra
When a century ago
She stopped producing milk in the last unpolluted pasture
And so as to save her, placed her in this time-bubble
Where she passes pointless years
Chewing a plastic cud once each decade
In unthinking honour of the slow-motion instinctive memory of her ancestors –


School Trip to the Old World

Though maybe Sisyphus would have been a better name –
Don’t bang on the glass, kid,
We wouldn’t want to startle the last living cow,
Though I doubt the dumb beast would notice –
Come take a selfie with the last cow
Staring at the moon’s grey dregs far above
They may look like tears but they’re not –
Don’t you listen?
Buy a fridge magnet,
Three-for-two, special offer,
Use the VR to see the first world as it was,
This way, come along now, hurry,
Soon we’ll hop back to home moon
Safe in your ad astra shelter
Which once was barren as Earth is now.