If the curator should wish, for example,
to save for later scrutiny (or
wonder, wonder’s worthy too) a once-
ubiquitous download for
disbursing the forces of Christendom
or evading the enemy’s land mines
or colonising Mars and if, as is all
but certain, the program depends
on software run by hardware no longer
extant, if reconstructions work too
well, eliding the awkward temporal gap
between keystroke and pixelated
body count, how will they know
what it’s like to be us? If even
the ditches along our abandoned railroad
spurs have long succumbed to
never-any-water, how will they know
what we mean by July?
(when the cornflowers first appear) (when
gladly the parched eye quenches
its thirst in blue) For providence, in lieu
of the kind we used to think
we trusted in, we’ve built a Global
Seed Vault on an island in the
Arctic Sea. There are rules. The seeds
aren’t ‘owned’ but ‘stored’
and only the donors of origin have access.
(That will tell them something too)
So maize and eggplant, lotus root and
cabbage in potentia for the world
to come. Assuming survival of people who
remember what the seeds are for
and something that passes for topsoil.
Permafrost, five hundred metres at
present, and sleeping tectonics below. Site
well above what’s likely to be a
flood zone when the ice caps melt. It must
have helped with costs a bit to build
the vault where once we mined for coal.
They’ll credit us with irony.