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A haunting poem from XR York’s Patrick Thelwell, which imagines the end of humanity in the wake of environmental and ecological collapse.

My mother shed a single tear as she exhaled her last, and nobody was left but me to hold her as she passed.

I huddled to her broken breast. I cried for a second chance. I knew there would be 
no forgiveness because there was 
nobody left to grant it. I mourned in the sun’s accusing glare for three days, strewn out on the tarmac, but couldn’t shake the morbid desire to keep on living. The shame was crushing, but not enough to pin me down to my murdered home.

I bottled up my mother’s final breath, and left without embrace. I fell like a stone off the curve of the Earth, and sank into the black of space.

I never looked back. Couldn’t, because my shuttle had no windows. Only the blink in the blackness of automated life support systems that cyclically stripped and recycled the atmosphere I sucked greedily through a plastic straw. I longed for the generous lungs of home. Her soft hair, once worn joyfully to her waist – Lychen, Pine, the Mermaid’s Purse – all shaved off to the bone.

I stopped briefly to press my Carbon footprints into Mars, but after I’d stripped the planet of its water I slunk back to the stars.

Through the years of rage I held jealously onto a few shattered memories, bloody hands clutching the shards to my chest. The reflection of the forest that my father had taken me to when I was a child. The last forest left. I saw myself straining past the razor wire, slipping off my mask to taste the sacred air. I saw the forest burning, and I saw the people didn’t care.

I sat on my interstellar throne and my 
mind rotted.

I am all there ever was and all there ever will be. I am certain now. For the first will be the last, and the last will be first. I am the last. I am a God of time. The universe will cease to exist when I die. 

I, me
And then I died, and the ship sailed on.


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