I often picture an odd world where we’re all gone

and all that’s left are the scarecrows.

when the space-folk come to earth,

they’ll find the cities empty —

engines left running, stoves still on

like the hollow and forward-moving body

of a ghost ship.

the farmlands, though,

will be riddled with figures. they’ll study them

like fossils. they may not get everything right,

but at the very least our crop-watching tombstones

will bear a semblance of us.

they’ll say, they had two arms,

two eyes, wore hats and kept sacred

their golden kingdoms from the birds

who would otherwise have their bounties.

they may also say,

their skin was burlap. their blood was straw.

they hovered like phantoms

on haphazard crucifixes,

and they hardly moved but for the wind.

from wherever we have gone,

we’ll think yes, but…

whisper the way tall grass does.

they won’t hear us, most likely.

if they do,

they’ll lean in to the string-made mouths

of those that have survived us —

they’ll ask the scarecrows,

but what?