On Fake Photographs Claiming That We Are the Virus
“Venice hasn’t seen clear canal water in a very long time. Dolphins showing up too. Nature just hit the reset button on us.” —Twitter User @Lukalashx
There’s a part of me that finds this compelling,
even though it’s fake. Even when I was in Venice,
watching the glass masters at work, I was captivated
as, behind the demonstration where a seahorse
came to life, another glass-breather took a broom,
swept away the standing water tiding in from the canal.
How otherworldly, to stand at a doorway and watch
a gondola glide down the avenue, feel its wake lap
at your boots. I mean, I assume people have them
like they would if one lived near a swamp. I won’t bore you
with a sunshine gondola ride story. Around that time of the day
in Venice, it must have been seven, eight pm in Suzhou, and the
Yangtze whispered underneath me. Many people know
the feeling of one’s ears catching up to their eyes while traveling
somewhere new. When the river said lanterns I heard stars—
stars nestled warmly behind paper walls, peeling back
over waves paved over by the bow of the boat frame,
scissor blades crossing through parchment. When we
look at the water, we are not looking at the sky. We are
looking at what the light plugs in. The waves change
with the twisting of the sun and moon over the continents.
At night, by starlight, the moon reveals the spine that is the riverbed.
I cannot speak for the river, but believe me when I say
that it will live on long after us, whether humans die by flood,
by disease, by capitalist greed, what have you. Yes, it will be
our own fault. Yes, you’re right, we don’t do enough. No, many of us
have not lived long enough to remember anything else.
But I bet you there are those of us who still remember stones
that ground corn in their slow waltz, mosses with memory
like a sponge soaking up water weeds, treebark holds fingerprints
longer than you might think. We’ve been here longer than we
can ever remember, but one day, after many days of writing
and sounding out the words, eventually you reached to pick a book
off the shelf, saw an ad for it playing on TV, found it sitting on your desk
at school next to a sheet that read Book Report Rubric. when you
opened it there was only one word you understood, the word
that has been with you for as long as you could remember: forget.
Jonce is a poet and activist living in Tallahassee. Their chapbook Searching For Smoke Rings is available from marlskarx and the Prolesound podcast. Find them on twitter @masterofmusix.