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natural disasters

Contributing Creators Poetry ROOTS - MAR/APR 2019

The Broken Planet

Written by Sayyada Khaki

Sayyada Khaki (15) was born and raised in Moshi, Tanzania. This poem was originally written for a school project on human beings’ parasitic relationship with the world.

There once was a very lonely town,
With people no longer around.
I make it sound so sad,
But in reality, there’s nothing bad.
This is the story of the place,
That was called Balkanase.

Before the people left,
There was theft, people were stressed and depressed.
All the animals were sad,
Their hearts felt like they were being stabbed.
Literarily and metaphorically
They knew their end would come soon, catastrophically.

The issues they created were many,
The world became ugly and smelly.
They threw their trash without care,
They even began to poison the air
And everything seemed to go downhill,
You could buy anything with a one-dollar bill.

The trash began to take over,
There was no chance even with a four-leaf clover
People no longer seemed to care
There wasn’t even a single pear or bear only an empty snare
They saw the damage,
Even the animals had to scavenge

The demise of the humans came soon after,
The laughter seemed to disappear thereafter.
The humans finally began to suffer,
Life began to get even tougher

The trash was all over the ground, mountains and seas,
There were no more bees or even trees.
The trash was in piles and mounds,
The birds no longer made any sounds.
They had eaten all the trash,
The entire world was covered in ash.

Slowly but surely, we thought we reached the end.
There was no more money to overspend.
One by one the humans began to disappear.
The destroyers of our planet were leaving, we began to cheer.
We’d hoped the world would begin to heal,
And we slowly made a deal.

We began to plant trees,
We cared for our planet and slowly there was bees and even a breeze!
Prayers were made that those wretched humans were gone,
Found another planet to destroy by dawn.
We began living in peace,
The human’s impacts had finally begun to cease

Slowly we resorted our home the way it should be
The animals returned to the seas, we were carefree.
As long as the humans were never to return
Where they could suffer and burn.
I hate to sound so mean and cold
But you should have seen the situation I just told

Now it’s still a bit fragile and worn,
And sometimes we find the need to mourn.
This is the story we never will forget to tell,
The power of humans and our almost demise as well.
Don’t grieve children we say,
In the darkest moments, we found a way.

 

While I was growing up I had a fascination for Space Exploration however as I learned more about how much we’ve destroyed Earth, I realized the next generations could possibly not survive or live on another planet that has survivable conditions. As part of another school project, I wrote this short story/poem to express what I think would happen if we didn’t manage to save our planet (the human race would live on another planet but we soon make the same mistakes as we did on Earth). I wanted to raise awareness about how even if we find a survivable planet (if one exists), we cannot continue destroying planets and making the same mistakes.

-Sayyada Khaki

You can read more of Sayyada’s work here

Abigail C. Keane ROOTS - MAR/APR 2019

A Life Missed Out On

Written by Abigail C. Keane

The year was 2075. It’s been twenty years since the creation of the TreeO2 tank – a significant day for many, helpful for few. Jackie saw some teachers putting up posters commemorating the event when she entered school that morning.

As she walked through the halls to her locker, she thought back to her early encounter with some demonstrators on the way to school. They were sharing a tank and coarsely chanting “Give us air! Give us air!” one after the other. One of them feebly threw a shoe toward her with a “damn the bourgeois!”

That was a close one.

Luckily, most days the smog detectors indicated a toxicity level way too high for any tankless poor sod to set foot unto the streets, though maybe a larger man could jog a block or two before passing out.

Jackie trudged into class and sat at her regular seat by the window. She deposited her tank in the circular hold on her left and took her notebook from her satchel. Mr. Peterson, a skinny, frail-looking guy of about 40, commenced the class with a regular “Ahem. Good morning everyone.”

The sky was lilac grey, with hints of yellow and orange glowing from the city lights.

Mr. Peterson pointed at the map on the board and began explaining The Transcendence, a revolutionary period that lasted from the 2040s to the 60s. “Does anyone know what about this period is revolutionary?” he asked. After a short silence, he sighed and continued, “As you may know, the 40s and 50s were a, um, climatically tumultuous period… But!” he picked up, “humanity re-built. And that’s why we are lucky enough to have oxygenated buildings, sand-proof suits, and, of course, the TreeO2’s.”

Jackie thought back to the poor airless group, her conscience feeling unease, her face betraying nothing.

I guess that’s just what it means to have bad luck.

Suffice to say, Jackie knew there was no God, no system, no meaning. Things just happened because they happened – an unappealing philosophy, but one that had been central to the rise of Moved Manhattan, Second Shanghai, and Nuevo Miami, among other rebirths.

Jackie’s attention was set back on track when Mr. Peterson tapped his stick on the map. “And can anyone show us how big the Sahara was before the 50s?”

Finally, something I know.

She walked up to the board and silently traced an outline – the figure seemed tiny compared to the giant that now took up over half of Africa. “Very good,” Mr. Peterson was pleased, “before you go back to your seat, could you please tell the class why the Sahara grew so much?”

Jackie frowned. It was an odd question to ask. “Well,” she began, “It’s hard to say. I mean, there could be a million different reasons why it changed… I don’t suppose it’s related to all the wildfires that burned down most of the world’s forests?”

“Oh no, no-no-no,” Mr. Peterson shook his head. “You were right the first time, we don’t know! That was a trick question class.” Jackie sighed in relief as she approached her desk. The teacher continued, “Once again class, we really can’t determine why anything happens. So there’s no use in dwelling on it.”

He sounds a bit too chipper.

Most of the records predating 2045 had been lost. According to old news reports, internet servers went down, erasing everything that was being stored digitally. No one she knew was really sure how that worked, or what any of the technical explanations meant. And she knew, as she had always been told, that there’s no use in dwelling on the past, or in questioning the present.

After all, there’s nothing we can do about it now.

Jackie spent the rest of that class thinking about how lucky she was to have a full family and an oxygenated house she didn’t have to share. She thought of her TV, and of course, her companion and ticket outside – the TreeO2.