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.