Issue 29: Dominic Hand

from Anarcadia


Post-harvest, wild relatives of clonal citrus trees

          with modified resistance to anthracnose and blight

fall short of core nutritive criteria. In a land whose stones are iron

          and from whose hills you may mine copper, strips

of pyropia and scraps of carrageen | careen through the sorting depots

          to be dried on conveyor belts, sweating oil

and tar. For how long can such quotas and cancelled cycles

          afford us protection | from our spendthrift carbon days’

proportions blown out | to bear the undue season, threshing

          hyperchromic blossoms from self-fertile cherry boughs?



Roaming through a critically endangered reserve, our data reserves

          begin to run out | so each fast-fading violet or white hawthorn jolts

along the lens | like a chromatic aberration. Trammelled on all sides by an air-

          conditioned equinox, soft spikes of simulated rain begin to gild

desiccated fields with a moiré effect | airbrushed to fruition. With nowhere left to turn

          we turn left again | sooner in exile among the lowly tamarisks; lured

by misdirection to abandoned arboreta | by their golden chain laburnums’

          neon chimes. Unparaphrasably—as sap beetles daub

their metallurgies | empurpling the rushlit magnolias—what remains of our pre-

          human harmonies hums on; unheeded by others | sub rosa.



Off the reference grid, where wild objects scroll | back along paths

          to a readymade world, biometric insects flicker through the night

like so many automated switches. Sequestered indoors, I watch their green

          affects | burn up on re-entry through the escaped velocity

of larksong, keyed-off into lost combinations | of sound in rustic hardware.

          Elsewhere, reliquaries to the future stack up; printed three-dimensionally

over nondescript ground, where a holographic cloud forest | supersedes itself

          with a binaural dawn chorus, replayed. Far more deeply interfused by this

polychrome immersion | you swap transhumance for transhuman to enhance

         unreal elementals changed for lifelike skeuomorphs.



Inerrant summits faltering: a flotilla of deterrents

          not misfired, albeit deferred above our heads. Panning

out mid-flight into simulated mist, inviolate relief-

         mapped landforms reappear | as ultrarealistic

to the augmented eye; controlling crowds as one | might

          monitor a swarm. Regarding this, I cannot for the life of me

wash away [delachrymate] our mutually assured de-

          reliction. on our heads so be it : the impact of survival’s

ad interim extremophile measures on mute, as radio- | resistant

          bacteria crackle under pressurized hydrothermal vaults.



Rife with hybrid vigour, sleep silences the working hive

         by laying bare to view | internal lines of production. But who

are we, technically, to contrive | such faveolate passagework;

          abandoned mineshafts salvaged on an aquaponic loop?

Scaled-up intensely, the intensive silver perch | outgrow the confines

          of their concrete rearing tanks, where each abalone shell—over-

powered in the undertow—pries open its promised borealis.

          Say that panicked kernels defrost in the seed banks, that world-

webbed nexuses begin to overheat, how will our leafless networks

          massed into ruin | make arable null xeriscapes to come?



[Dominic Hand (b.1995) is a poet based in the UK. His debut collection, Symbiont: 50 Sonnets (Veer Books, 2020), won a Society of Authors’ Eric Gregory Award in 2021. His second book of poetry, The Data Harvest, a long poem in 38 parts about information culture and the digital revolution, is forthcoming with Broken Sleep Books in July 2023. His poetry has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, including Blackbox Manifold, Oxford Poetry, Reliquiae, The London Magazine, The Best New British and Irish Poets, and Tears in the Fence. He is currently completing a PhD in Anthropocene poetics at Merton College, University of Oxford.]

Copyright © 2022 by Dominic Hand, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.