The Last Ones In

Destined to be the archaeologists
of the universe, we came to the game
too late, the last planet
to launch our people into space.

Only galaxies of ruin
await us, galleries filled with soot
a glittering history of art and music
we won’t be able to understand at all
books filled with languages
we won’t ever learn to read

empty rooms
that might be filled with light and noise
if we only knew what an “on” switch looked like
in accordance with each planet,
each decimated species,

there will be no manuals left to show us
how anything works.

—Holly Day