After the Fallout

We thought it’d be done,
That the whole world was gone.
We thought we’d eaten up all life,
And bombed away all our cities.

So into the ground we fled,
Squatting within the vaults.
We thought they were our last home,
Since we destroyed our past one.

A century and a half would pass,
Since the last vault door was shut.
We thought the world above to be denuded,
And stained with fallout from our folly.

But we humans tired of our own sanctuary,
And could not stay cooped in those tunnels.
We thought about the sunlight we left,
And wondered what it shone above.

So our leaders decided to open the doors.
They sent the best soldiers and scientists.
We thought we would see only skeletons and ash.
But then we stepped out to breath fresh air.

The sky was clear with scattered clouds,
All gleaming pure white instead of dirty brown.
We saw not a mess of naked logs and soot,
But the dense green overgrowth of jungle primeval.

Our cities did indeed rear up in ruin,
With crumbled concrete and cracked glass.
We saw the vines and ferns on their scaffolds,
And the foliage sprouting through the asphalt.

Birds twittered and monkeys hooted
Where vehicles honked and citizens chattered.
We heard the grunts and bellows and even roars
Of beasts we thought should have been gone.

Pterosaurs glided and soared among skyscrapers,
Sauropods drank and cooled off in the pools.
We spotted horned ceratopsians and armored ankylosaurs,
And the stunning colors of stegosaur plates.

Plumed packs of raptors prowled in the alleys,
Crocodiles and sharks swam in the sewers.
We hurried away from the political offices,
Once we bumped into the tyrant kings of them all.

We do not know what happened to our world,
Or why the past has reclaimed its future.
We are still glad that life still found a way
Even after the fallout.

This quick poem is my response to numerous portrayals of a post-apocalyptic future that I find too barren and bleak for my taste (e.g. the Fallout game series by Bethsheda, which have always called that environment a “Wasteland”). I’ve always preferred to imagine the collapse of modern civilization as being followed by a period of recovery for life on Earth, with the ruins of our cities being reclaimed by the wilderness and its creatures. The world has been through enough crap as it is in my opinion, so we could use some healing from all that.

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