A Boy of the Future

(For Luca)

He sits like a king on a throne,
Wanting to be entertained.
“Faster, uncle” he commands
When I fail to push him at a satisfying speed.

The air is scented with coffee beans but
I won’t have my cup (recycled paper naturally) till after I drop him off at the nursery.

“Bus! Bus!”
He tilts his body in the buggy as if sailing a boat.
The red buses no longer excite him. He seeks blue or green or yellow thrills.

Then the squirrels come.
He watches them, wide-eyed, as they leap from ground to trunk to branches.
Fireflies of the morning.
“It’s a sinjab, uncle”
I’m heartened to hear the Arabic word for squirrel uttered by this boy who is part Iraqi, part English, part Romanian. A mix of genes forged in London. A boy of the future.

Will his lungs adapt to the pollution?
Will he learn to breathe under water?
Will he put out fires with his piss?
Will his immune cells kill new viruses?
Will his skin cope?
Will his head?
Will his shoulders?
Will his knees?
Will his toes?

For now we’re both happy when we see a recycling truck coming close.

‘It’s not too late surely’, I comfort think.

“Faster, uncle” he commands
And we rush, headlong, into the future.

Hassan Abdulrazzak
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Hassan Abdulrazzak would be pleased to hear them.