In this desolate place I can almost hear
the sacred buzzing of bees, glimpse
an endless canopy of emerald leaves
pulsing against a clear cobalt sky.

As I crouch on the contaminated ground,
inside the warm plastic of my gasmask
I catch the delicate scents of long-dead flowers
(that I’ve read about in antique texts).
Their blazing hues burst like fireworks through
the unbreathable orange haze.

Outside my respirator, lungs expand, bare skin
shivered by rain. I witness rivers and waterfalls
running free, the aroma of pine needles, musty
notes of fallen leaves, taste a hundred types
of berries, see the once eternal seasons circling
in their multicoloured robes.

At the heart of it all, a trillion eyes shining
with the same undimmed light.

Day after day, this vacant space fills
with a lost world, as though I’m living
inside a video game. Then, samples taken,
this dream of Planet Earth in my head fades,
and I trudge back to the sterile underground
bunker from which I came.




Lucy Whitehead’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Amethyst Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Barren Magazine, Black Bough Poetry, Broken Spine Artist Collective, Burning House Press, Collective Unrest, Electric Moon Magazine, Ghost City Review, Mookychick Magazine, 3 Moon Magazine, Neon Mariposa Magazine, Parentheses Journal, Pink Plastic House, Pussy Magic, Re-side, and Twist in Time Magazine. She lives by the sea with her husband and cat. Twitter @blueirispoetry.

Cover Photo Credit: Kylie Supski