Suzanne Langlois: Fruitless

Summer has barely begun and already
the grass is baked brown by the heat, 
a wreath of dried flowers laid on a grave.

They’re removing names of flowers
from the dictionary to make room
for words that describe ways to die.

Colors are disappearing, too—no use
for most of the Crayola box when
everything is some shade of dust or rot.

My kids will never see a polar bear
in the wild because I have no kids
and bears have no wild. To be fair,

I’ve never seen a polar bear in the wild,
either, having never been anywhere
polar, or even especially wild. But

I’ve seen films of them, lumbering
across the ice, searching for seals’
breathing holes. We’ve all got to eat,

which is why scorched plants are
such a big deal. Dried flowers don’t
bear fruit. Starved bears don’t bear

young. Women who are ambivalent
about the future don’t reproduce. Or,
at least, this one doesn’t. Gravestones

come in three colors, none of them
interesting. My kids won’t pay to have
my name and two dates carved

on a headstone because, again, no
kids, and probably, in the not-far-
enough-away future, no headstones,

no need to name the dead, whoever
and whatever they were. The earth,
a barren wasteland, every language, lost.

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