THE OXYGEN MAKERS Stromatolites in Shark Bay, Western Australia Midday, water’s edge Don’t take breathing for granted; it hasn’t always been so easy. The fresh twenty-one percent we live on was made by these slimy cyan domes over billions of silent years, puff by puff. Somewhere we’ve failed, made it all go wrong; but these patient workers could do it all again. Late afternoon, ankle deep I throw my phone in the warm shallow water; I could never tell you what it is I see. I throw in my watch; counting seconds is pointless where nothing has changed since before there were fish. I throw in my keys; the iron they are made of was oxidised by these round turbines while the air was still rank from creation. I throw in my sunglasses; without these domes there never would have been an ozone layer. Early evening, knee deep I’m not afraid to go further out into the maternal warmth of the water that wraps my legs like a birth blanket; the plesiosaurs stay far away from these extra salty shallows. A pterodactyl kite shadow flits across my shoulder, flying on to better hunting. I breathe deep; the air is richer than you’ll ever know, our twenty-one percent tastes more like thirty in the dense Cretaceous heat. Sunset, floating face down I am as old and as young as the domes; there is still so much to do to change the world. My back soaks up the late Pre-Cambrian sun just as they do but there is so little life in the air, so little; all we need is time.
S.C. Flynn was born in Australia of Irish origin and now lives in Dublin. His poetry has recently been, or soon will be, published in Cyphers, Bealtaine, Abridged, The Waxed Lemon and Drawn to the Light. @scyflynn