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For the animals, half a billion

Among us there are many, singing
Lullabies of thunder and ash, waiting
for the sleeping spring, stirring
beneath the dust and embers,
the fevered blaze of backyard brush fires.
Between us, there are threads of doubt, unwinding
Spools like spider webs across the scalded earth, whining
and snapping in the warbling heat, spinning
across the land that we have beaten blue and bone.
Winter will not come, at last we say,
For all our efforts to stretch the skin
of summer, we are reaping the harvest
of animal bones by the billions and
Fields of corn and dandelion dust.
Death by water or by patience
rolls in on warm and placid tides,
for we have left unsaid the spells
which might have saved us from this fate.
Minutes pass like drunken dancers,
lost in the liminal void of lamentation,
dreaming eyelid movies of the past,
and dance we did until
This very moment when
The bells tolls for the yet unborn.
Today, they said, an entire continent
is set to sink in darkened waters,
And instantly, I thought of you,
Bleeding out in numbers like
A picture book left out in the rain.
Between us, you and I,
and every child born among us,
there are hopes untethered
Sweetly drifting
On thick tides of oil and pennies
And we wave at them
As they float by,
A generation of sinking passengers
upon this great and broken ship.

Camille Louise is a perpetual student and high school English teacher from New York by way of the South of France. She lives with her cat, Breakfast, and her snake, Abraxas, in New Orleans, Louisiana. You can find her writing at and
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20 May 2024

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