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The ghosts of hamburgers lurk in the air,
waiting for children no longer there.
All of their voices turned empty and spare,
waiting lines empty and every chair
devoid of bodies. Each table bare.
To where have they gone? Do you know where?
If people all vanished, would the world care?
Would the lynx and the bobcat, the fox and the hare
and deer from the forests and crocodiles dare
to enter our shopping malls and broach the stair
forever silent, frozen and still?
Would they climb the escalator’s metal hill
and move into spaces filled with our things?
Jackets and towels and soup bowls and rings?
Refrigerators, bicycles and shoes,
donuts and bagels and pretzels and booze?
Tip over displays and ponder just what
we ever accomplished with all of this glut?
When we are gone will the animals wonder
what they can do with all of this plunder?
Will they swim in our pools and loll on our greens?
Will they scratch their wild backs on our mowing machines?
Leap over our cars and stream over our bridges,
enter our houses and nose through our fridges?
Will they make a nest of the socialite’s mink?
Have dozens of babies in our kitchen sink?
Remove stuffing from mattresses to create burrows?
Tunnel under our lawns to make ridges and furrows?
Will monkeys swing from our huge chandeliers?
Chimps drive our cars and strip all the gears?
Cows graze through our parks and horses run free,
no saddles inhibiting their liberty?
Just imagine our world once mankind is vanished.
Once we’ve insured we are finally banished.
Clean air and clean oceans. No traffic or noise.
No cars and no airplanes. No rush hour noise.
No traffic or crowds. No exhaust pipes or trash.
No credit cards, coupons or coinage or cash.
What we saw as improvements will all rust away,
covered with vines, to slowly decay.
Mankind just a segment of time’s stony layers,
our music and art and headlines and prayers
all just one strata within the earth’s stories,
buried like all of her other brief glories.
After we’ve suffered earth’s most recent purge,
and we’re all gone, what else will emerge?