12. 4. 2022

Making Up

Mahaila Smith

The community was built
beside the bay. Every member
helped to build spaces big enough 
for big families and big parties, 
using stones from past cities.

Couples and throuples and friends 
who belong to the Earth
give their love as freely as they like.
They walk along the water, collecting softened stones, 
plastic, glass, wires.
Spreading seaweed out on thick canvas, 
collecting clams and crabs from submerged baskets.

Some move through the expanse of garden,
weeding choking canes, 
planting cornflowers 
or lace flowers, 
picking young dandelion leaves, 
checking the wind-powered
hydraulic tubes that guide veins 
of desalinated sea. 
Some walk with sheep 
to patches of mint and heather. 

Children go where they like, 
playing in the trees, swimming,
learning to stretch wet clay 
into flat dishes with patient adults. 

There are spaces to be alone, 
near the water, under the pine trees. 
Spaces to make art with full intention,
for a room of smiles, freely given.

There are spaces to lie down 
on scavenged mattresses,
under woolly capes.
Or on newly sewn duvets 
stuffed with milkweed down. 
Places to kiss and warm and hold. 

The community can protect themselves, 
planning quick escapes, 
storing emergency bundles,
but they would prefer to share. 
All artists are welcome. 

Many of the adults and elders
communicate telepathically.
The cortical implants 
(which their previous bosses had paid for, 
in hope of boosting their immunity
and speeding up their hands 
with intrusive thoughts)
connected them through a virtual network,
to gossip, to send warnings. 
They cherish afternoons, 
sitting around a bowl of pickled herring, 
imagining futures thousands of years forward,
making each other belly-laugh. 

Some of the elders are close with solar-powered
nanny-bots and surrogate body androids,
who have been maintained
decades past their Best Before dates. 
Elders whisper into microphone ears,
the androids laugh along.

When the sun has gone down
and the young people have come
inside, the community sit together.
The old ones share the stories,
the plans they have been making. 
Everyone writes their favourites on the walls. 

Young ones, smelling like warm stones,
share their art: slips of clay, bouquets,
new perfumes, jokes, plays, songs, dances,
wool the colour of still water. 

They snack on sun-dried seaweed,
hot-steamed mussels, fiddleheads, morels. 
They share lilac wine 
and whisper love and dreams
into the heads of their children.

Mahaila Smith (any pronouns) is a young, enby femme writer, living and working on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg in Ottawa, Ontario. They are one of the co-editors for The Sprawl Mag. They like learning theory and writing spec poetry. Their debut chapbook, Claw Machine, was published by Anstruther Press in 2020.