SURVIVING THE CATASTROPHE 1
The rough beasts crash and lumber,
scales flashing, brilliant in the falling
sun. When they swing their great heads,
this way, and that,
scanning for danger,
we still ourselves.
We are but notions
beavering into shadows,
too small to merit
even their disdain.
They rise up fiercely tall and stupid,
then slouch off toward Washington,
Jerusalem, Beijing, Berlin, Moscow,
claiming for themselves,
this devastated paradise,
raging at the meteoric gods.
We flee from the Jurassic
chaos into tunnels
of anticipated spring.
their rotting leaves–
we sip our wine,
and craft a plan:
first we take New Mexico.
Then we take our time.
 The poem is based on the life of Kimbetopsalis simmonsae, a small, herbivorous, beaver-like mammal that survived the event that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Its fossil was found in what is today New Mexico.
A veterinary epidemiologist, David Waltner-Toews has published more than 20 books of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. His most recent book (nonfiction) is On Pandemics: Deadly Diseases from Bubonic Plague to Coronavirus (Greystone, 2020). His poetry books have been published by McClelland and Stewart, Brick Books, and Turnstone Press. More information can be found on his website: https://davidwaltnertoews.wordpress.com/
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