The Future: John-Michael Bloomquist
Father Nescio and the Ark of the Future
The lift was a mile-long throat up
to the scorched surface of the Earth.
The phlegm-yellow sky hacked thunder
and spat lightning around the Ark—
a shimmering peanut of mercury
larger than the New York skyline
sitting in the vaporized seabed—
a coral graveyard bleached like an
albino Gila monster. Astronauts
walked into and out of the Ark
like silver ants. I boarded it with two
DNA samples of every 21st century
animal we hadn’t been able to save.
We were going to make a new home
where water gushed and air was free,
and the birds singing in forgotten trees
would talk to the core of who we are.
We planned to bio-print the extinct
back to life to walk through our lost
paradise. I’d kept faith in resurrection,
in life after death. Of course, I had doubt:
maybe we shouldn’t be a part of the worlds
to come. But as radiation swept its
invisible broom, I stepped onto the Ark.
The Second Prayer of Father Nescio
How can we remain, in your image, parts
of one body when lab-grown hearts and ears
and eyes are ready-made to order, and
implanted in these oiled suits?
Out of the womb of the seas we swarmed
upon the shore drawn by the same urge that drives
the moon over the earth. The force to live is dumb
as gravity. Out of the womb of our earth, into
the airless night of lights we explore
new planets to forge our hovels—
out of one womb and into a million others,
forever seeking to make a womb of it all.
Yet we forget our first cocoon—the cradle myth
of our pale blue dot we out grew by doubt.
For all our progress, all our planet-wide citadels
and genetically engineered regenerative cells,
we are compelled to visit a place
no satellite can orbit, no rocket can glide by.
How can it be that from slime to scale to fur to skin
to upright space-trotting sapiens we are so lost
to each other? Behold, neighbor—does anyone
knock on the door of your conapt?
You’ve every necessity at the touch of a button
but who knows if you’re alive? I’m afraid
no one knows about me either, and I fear you, too,
neighbor. Yet I would give my life
to know you, if only to check that I’m still alive.
I’ve heard in the past, a heart was donated from one
who had passed away, so that another may live.
Father Nescio’s Exorcism
The exorcist came with an electronic
crucifix that he plugged into my forehead,
uploading a software that scanned
my mind for the medley of faces
hidden within faces, voices echoing
in the cave of my skull. The words
that were not mine flashed on the scanner
like lumps giving away the cancer.
I was nauseous as the oracle inhaling
vapors, fumed with double speech,
like a bot out of sync with its own code.
The exorcist exhumed the shape-shifting
sidewinder sliding under the sands
of my dendrites like an owl swooping
down in the dark upon its prey, snagging
up the spineless body with his talons.
The glowing collar kept the priest’s
mind safe as the virus sank its fangs
into him. Praying the ancient
words enclosed the demon like a house
spider within a jar. He slide the page
underneath its feet, carried it outside.
I’d almost forgotten my own way of thinking.
John-Michael Bloomquist lives in DC with his wife and their needy black cat, Zbigniew. He is an editor of Poems from the Jail Dorm, a collection of incarcerated men’s poetry. His poetry has been published in The Michigan Quarterly Review, Third Coast, The Southeast Review, The Portland Review, and many others. He can be found at john-michaelpbloomquist.com.