POETRY: CONYER CLAYTON
It snows every April in Ontario, yet
everyone's still shocked about it.
Even the daffodils expect it and brace
their stemy spines against short-lived
frost. We can all stop acting shocked
when horrible things happen now, okay?
We can all stop performing, like most
years' crops aren't ruined by some sort
of weather. If not
a water shortage making almonds
more priceless than gold.
The Perseverance converted the atmosphere
of Mars into breathable oxygen
the other day. A few humans would require
1 tonne a year to survive there. It's more
reasonable to build a structure that creates
what we need to live
than to rely on a planet
to make it for us.
We should all expect
that at first, the gears will malfunction.
Some irreplaceable part
will need replacing, and the first humans
who set foot on that red soil not fit
for human life will die, and float
out to space like fleshy little satellites.
One day though, we'll be
so accustomed to life on Mars, after we're
out of water and weather and aphids here,
and it is so warm we should be
surprised at an April snowfall, that when
the annual November dust storm
tints the world orange and we must clean
the vents with Q-tips to survive,
everyone will act surprised.
Conyer Clayton is a writer, musician, and editor living on unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe land. She is the author of We Shed Our Skin Like Dynamite (Guernica Editions, 2020, Winner of the Ottawa Book Award), But the sun, and the ships, and the fish, and the waves (A Feed Dog Book by Anvil Press, 2022), and many chapbooks, including several collaborative ones with VII, a creative collective of which she is a member. Her poetry, essays, and criticism appear in Room Magazine, filling station, Canthius, Arc Poetry Magazine, CV2, The Capilano Review and others. www.conyerclayton.com
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