“To Be in a Time of Extinction,” prose poetry by Violet Mitchell

Violet Mitchell

To Be in a Time of Extinction

—after Etel Adnan


To find a list with macaws, to read of the eastern cougar, to try to imagine the sound of its growl, to set down the list and your diet cola, to check the time, to check the calendar, to find a pen, to write a grocery list, to forget detergent, to look down, to see a shirt with an endangered giraffe, to brush a palm over its hooves, to walk outside, to see December, to see dehydrated dirt, to feel the sun tickling shoulders and already burning, to drive to work, to smell the gasoline, to see an empty hairspray can on the sidewalk, to walk into the office, to use the stairs instead of the elevator, to throw away a plastic wrapper from a muffin, to doodle an elephant during the morning meeting, to walk through a grayscale hallway, to check the time, to go outside for lunch, to smell the traffic, to see a dead rabbit in the road, to think of the moment its skull split and stomach gushed out undigested breakfast, to sigh, to sip without a straw, to feel useless, to check the year, to feel finite, to think of the universe’s vastness, to wonder how often people have this thought, to notice the way humans have claimed the earth as entirely for their existence.

Violet Mitchell is a Denver-based writer and artist. She is working toward a B.A S. in cognitive literary studies and a B.A. in creative writing, both from Regis University. Her work has been published in Loophole, Flourishing, Across the Canyon, Who’s Who, Sixfold, ANGLES, Furrow Magazine, and several other journals.

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