Heliobacterium daphnephilium

First, you must understand
that it is too late.

Second, understand that we volunteered.
We knew what we were doing,
what would become of us in the end.

What would become of you.

That was the whole point.

The bacterium was very carefully designed.
We worked on it in secret
for years. Decades.

We planned this very carefully.
Board a flight in New York,
another in Shanghai, Sao Paolo, Sydney.
A sneeze. A cough. Who would notice?

We estimate a sixty percent infection rate.
So, about five billion.
More than enough.

The bacterium is highly adaptable.
Pollen and spores and seeds
fill the air around us; the dirt; our food.
The bacterium will find one—
maybe an oak or a sequoia,
a kapok or bonsai—
take its dna, and
make it yours.


When your blood
begins to turn green,
go outside.
If you stay inside—
trapped by walls and floors
of plaster and linoleum
and plastic—
you will die.

Find a nice spot,
one with good soil
and plenty of sun.
Take off your shoes and clothes,
if you want,
but it really won’t matter.
The roots will find their way.

Lift your arms.
Turn up your face.
If you huddle and hide,
you will starve.
Forget about your stock portfolio,
your mortgage, your job,
traffic, email, bills.
They don’t matter,
not anymore.

All that matters
is sun and sky
and water and earth.

Five billion new trees.

More than enough.

Rebecca Buchanan