Darrell Petska

A Million Years

When I am part of the fossil record,
along with the McDonald’s on the corner
and the Social Security Administration,
and dinosaurs and lowly tardigrades
may have proved far more resilient
and long-lived than inventive humankind,

whatever comes to replace us,
walking, crawling, levitating or running in place,
might look at the sun and moon and stars
and think—or not—of great expanses,
size and scale, meaning and non-meaning
and six zeros worth of time passing

before lapsing into the fossil record
along that millions continuum
until finally, the sun goes rogue
and the earth goes pfttt!
and all might appear for naught

except that you smiled at me
and the children played out back
and our dog licked my face
like I’d been gone a million years.

Darrell Petska (conservancies.wordpress.com) shepherded engineering faculty through grammar minefields for more than 30 years, concluding along the way that rules of grammar must bend or sometimes even break as readerships evolve.