In my final week at university,
after four years of grey shower cubicles,
I discover a bathtub on the second floor
of the dormitory.
Moving slowly in the thick, equatorial air,
I sink into a volcanic ocean, my body curved
like Pangea. Hands slice through the water,
lazy Dimetrodons, and my toes hover
just below the surface, coastal, pink as coral.
I am facing my own extinction.
Graduating is a cataclysm: I am
unprepared for the geology of change,
for the next era fast approaching.
Curled in this enamel womb,
full of birth-anxiety and steam,
I experience the grief of the world,
a two-hundred-million-year echo.
Letting go is difficult, my thumbs twist
into ammonites. The billowing heat moves
like the ghosts of last century’s students,
their fingerprints fossilised in the tub’s pale strata.
They are ancestors who have already stepped
from the sea of pre-personhood.
My knees lift in a tectonic shift,
reveal moles on my legs like insects in amber.
Leaning back, I see my watery reflection
on the tiled ceiling, mirrored genesis.
The uncertainty keeps me in stasis,
prepared to stay, be excavated decades later,
no further evolution, easy non-existence.
But then my arms reach up, fingers hook
over the tub. The Great Dying left ecological gaps
for giants. I rise from the water like a continent,
unclaimed, unchartered, reincarnated,
and step onto dry land: triumphant, Triassic.