Read: Animal EdenZakia Carpenter-Hall

A black and white portrait of the writer Zakia Carpenter-Hall.
A black and white portrait of the writer Zakia Carpenter-Hall.
Zakia Carpenter-Hall

 

Animal Eden

 

It was the year of the viral video, 

nature coming out of hiding.

We were supposed to believe 

that within weeks, animal life 

had overwritten us with their joy 

and reckless abandon, as if instincts 

told them like radio waves signalling 

through the ether that humans 

are under quarantine and no one 

knows how long. Pictures of elephants

who’ve eaten, Earth knows what

forgotten about — the human dangers, 

perhaps consumed themselves 

into a stupor of corn wine and lay out 

in cultivated fields of tea leaves. 

I hate to anthropomorphise, 

but are those smiles that I see on all 

of their faces? As if the predators 

of the world are gone gone — vanished — 

and they’ve reached an Earthly nirvana, 

and it’s heaven! Heaven on Earth!

Heaven at last! And some of us humans, 

from the vantage point of our dark screens, 

felt so good for having seen it.

 

Zakia Carpenter-Hall is a writer, tutor and critic. Her poems have appeared in Callaloo, Magma, Wild Court, 3:AM and various visual poetry exhibitions. She was an inaugural winner of Poetry London’s mentoring scheme and her chapbook Event Horizon was published by Sampson Low. Her poetry reviews and essays have been published by Poetry London, The Poetry School, Wild Court and The Poetry Review. She is a 2020 Jerwood Bursary Recipient, London Library Emerging Writer and was shortlisted for The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize.