If the curator should wish, for example,
         to save for later scrutiny (or

wonder, wonder’s worthy too) a once-
         ubiquitous download for

disbursing the forces of Christendom
         or evading the enemy’s land mines

or colonising Mars and if, as is all
         but certain, the program depends

on software run by hardware no longer
         extant, if reconstructions work too

well, eliding the awkward temporal gap
         between keystroke and pixelated

body count, how will they know
         what it’s like to be us? If even

the ditches along our abandoned railroad
         spurs have long succumbed to

never-any-water, how will they know
         what we mean by July?

(when the cornflowers first appear) (when
         gladly the parched eye quenches

its thirst in blue) For providence, in lieu
         of the kind we used to think

we trusted in, we’ve built a Global
         Seed Vault on an island in the

Arctic Sea. There are rules. The seeds
         aren’t ‘owned’ but ‘stored’

and only the donors of origin have access.
         (That will tell them something too)

So maize and eggplant, lotus root and
         cabbage in potentia for the world

to come. Assuming survival of people who
         remember what the seeds are for

and something that passes for topsoil.
         Permafrost, five hundred metres at

present, and sleeping tectonics below. Site
         well above what’s likely to be a

flood zone when the ice caps melt. It must
         have helped with costs a bit to build

the vault where once we mined for coal.
         They’ll credit us with irony.

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