Unnatural Selection

You must know Darwin—not any darwin

in forums with telescopes on his eyes

always singing the beard like a puppet,

or one having his tag by accident;

I really mean the God of chance—

he respected me, no, he deified me

not because I once mirrored his incubation

when we sat alone on HMS Beagle,

but that I surpassed him in jest—

 

this, too, he dismissed when I reviewed

the Origin long before it absorbed us.

I had asked as throes gripped him,

what he would be after the time—

My friend, he called, there is no death

but transmutation, and we laughed at sophistry.

So, Darwin never died as you presume,

and not only he, but every extinct thing:

 

do not compose elegies for Tiktaalik roseae,

dinosaurs, Raphus cucullatus and golden toads

or remind me of Suyá and Ostrogoth,

St. Helena olives and Sri Lanka legumes—

they have, indeed, been transformed—I know

he would agree wherever whatever he is,

that the Holocene extinction is natural selection.

 

He knew I detest praising friends privately,

I sing them loud as a thrush

I laud public approval, which he adored,

and I told him in undressed words

that I did not share his lust

and how he swore in the name

 

of greed and in its night-birthed misnomers

we give all the things that limp

backwards into the beautiful door of love;

the stubble smiled and laughed at me,

yet he did not stir my head

 

to make differently how we should live.

I never meant, friend, to distract you,

to cut new pathways in your mind

to discredit or credit the new whiskers,

 

and believe me, I wonder every day

as I walk across shacks and skyscrapers

how many of us daily go extinct

 

by our fatal greed and inverse love

that wet the long lungs of death—

 

and which of us, Malthus, is next?

mm

Tim Fab-Eme

Tim Fab-Eme enjoys playing with poetic forms and the themes of identity, exploitation and the environment; he loves gardening and sometimes thinks himself a farmer. Tim hopes to revisit his long-abandoned prose manuscripts and treat them the way he treats his poetry manuscripts. He lives in Rivers; his work is published in The Malahat Review, New Welsh Review, Magma; apt, The Fiddlehead and FIYAH, etc. Tim studied engineering at the Niger Delta University, and is presently pursuing a BA in English Studies at the University of Port Harcourt.

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