Illustration of animal-skull shapes in blue, yellow, red on light blue background with white bars
Paul Spella / The Atlantic

I’m still a magpie. If it glitters,
          I want it, no matter
                    the cost—

I don’t connect the bangle
          I buy online to a gold
                    mine’s cyanide heap

leaching, or the made-
          with-fracked-gas plastics
                    that I throw in the trash

to the survivor in an as-yet-
          unnamed epoch
                    who’ll sniff the fossil

bones of a predator
          unknown to it, though
                    the skull that it licks

will likely be ours,
          and even if this creature
                    resembles the rat-size

mammal that evolved when
          dinosaurs died, by what blood
                    chemistry will it breathe?