Our Hands Will Be Also Stained This Way

Artist: Julia DaSilva

Medium: poem

Our Hands Will Be Also Stained This Way

The coming world will be blood
oranges. The work to be done will spread

before us in orbs of orange gold and we will hold each one, wonder
will it zest sunflower or red? Someone will ask

whether it is exposure to sunlight that varies
the blood concentration of their colour and another will answer no,

they ripen in winter. They need warm days
followed by cool nights and a steep

divergence between the two flushes them deep.
We will nod and watch the juice squeeze

into the tray: they all bleed red. That’s how it will be,
in the world to come: our work, everything that draws

our veins closer to the surface
will return our life-blood to us, sweeter.

On the first day of the soft apocalypse, the sun that warms
the orange trees will tap our shoulders and say, the rote games

are over. You can do now the work you were meant
to do. Walking over the bright rubble we will trip

and catch each other’s hands and that winter
in the kitchen flecked with every shade of sunrise

we will realize just how jewelled the harvest was.
Someone will hold one out, peeled

and another will exclaim it’s just
like a gemstone, or a dragon’s egg

and just like that we will slip
into our process like elbows and shining eyes

around a fragment of dock and a fresh
floating story and a kitchen table. We will arrange

a pyramid like a ruby-dragon’s nest except
there will be no dragon-hoard, no stained diamonds, only

the attention that even now lets segments of the coming world dribble
through the cracks in the mines seawater citrus. This

is the coming world it will be living, pulsing gold
it will be the work before us it will be sentences popping

fire on a cold night it will be here and it will be blood

In this piece, I attempt to imagine a defining feature of a post-extraction, post-capitalist world: one where relations of and to work are life-giving ones, and in which—beyond the logics of extraction, productivity, exploitation—we have the fullest possible space, time, and means in which to make this work an authentic extension of our being.

About the artist

Julia DaSilva (she/her) is a poet, fantasy writer, climate justice organizer and student of magic systems based in Toronto.