from Anarcadia


Post-harvest, wild relatives of clonal citrus trees
             with modified resistance to anthracnose and blight
fall short of core nutritive criteria. In a land whose stones are iron
             and from whose hills you may mine copper, strips
of pyropia and scraps of carrageen | careen through the sorting depots
             to be dried on conveyor belts, sweating oil
and tar. For how long can such quotas and cancelled cycles
             afford us protection | from our spendthrift carbon days’
proportions blown out | to bear the undue season, threshing
             hyperchromic blossoms from self-fertile cherry boughs?



Roaming through a critically endangered reserve, our data reserves
             begin to run out | so each fast-fading violet or white hawthorn jolts
along the lens | like a chromatic aberration. Trammelled on all sides by an air-
             conditioned equinox, soft spikes of simulated rain begin to gild
desiccated fields with a moiré effect | airbrushed to fruition. With nowhere left to turn
             we turn left again | sooner in exile among the lowly tamarisks; lured
by misdirection to abandoned arboreta | by their golden chain laburnums’
             neon chimes. Unparaphrasably—as sap beetles daub
their metallurgies | empurpling the rushlit magnolias—what remains of our pre-
             human harmonies hums on; unheeded by others | sub rosa.



Off the reference grid, where wild objects scroll | back along paths
             to a readymade world, biometric insects flicker through the night
like so many automated switches. Sequestered indoors, I watch their green
             affects | burn up on re-entry through the escaped velocity
of larksong, keyed-off into lost combinations | of sound in rustic hardware.
             Elsewhere, reliquaries to the future stack up; printed three-dimensionally
over nondescript ground, where a holographic cloud forest | supersedes itself
             with a binaural dawn chorus, replayed. Far more deeply interfused by this
polychrome immersion | you swap transhumance for transhuman to enhance
             unreal elementals changed for lifelike skeuomorphs.



Inerrant summits faltering: a flotilla of deterrents
             not misfired, albeit deferred above our heads. Panning
out mid-flight into simulated mist, inviolate relief-
             mapped landforms reappear | as ultrarealistic
to the augmented eye; controlling crowds as one | might
             monitor a swarm. Regarding this, I cannot for the life of me
wash away [delachrymate] our mutually assured de-
             reliction. on our heads so be it : the impact of survival’s

ad interim extremophile measures on mute, as radio- | resistant
             bacteria crackle under pressurized hydrothermal vaults.



Rife with hybrid vigour, sleep silences the working hive
             by laying bare to view | internal lines of production. But who
are we, technically, to contrive | such faveolate passagework;
             abandoned mineshafts salvaged on an aquaponic loop?
Scaled-up intensely, the intensive silver perch | outgrow the confines
             of their concrete rearing tanks, where each abalone shell—over-
powered in the undertow—pries open its promised borealis.
             Say that panicked kernels defrost in the seed banks, that world-
webbed nexuses begin to overheat, how will our leafless networks
             massed into ruin | make arable null xeriscapes to come?



[Dominic Hand (b.1995) is a poet based in the UK. His debut collection, Symbiont: 50 Sonnets (Veer Books, 2020), won a Society of Authors’ Eric Gregory Award in 2021. His second book of poetry, The Data Harvest, a long poem in 38 parts about information culture and the digital revolution, is forthcoming with Broken Sleep Books in July 2023. His poetry has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, including Blackbox Manifold, Oxford Poetry, Reliquiae, The London Magazine, The Best New British and Irish Poets, and Tears in the Fence. He is currently completing a PhD in Anthropocene poetics at Merton College, University of Oxford.]

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