After the Lifespan of an Organism by Kourtnie McKenzie You will create an ecosystem in your apartment with cats, parrots, bettas, and orange guppies. After growing up with cockatiels, the parrots will make sense—but the cats will happen in chaos theory, after a workday in the cubicle, after sitting in traffic to the feed store. You will buy the parrot's toy he destroys once a week, after you adopt cats abandoned by their previous owner; then in the years to come, the cats will break most of your mugs—but you will rise to the occasion of their energy. You will become their mother, their fighter, after one of them is diagnosed with cancer, after the battle you cannot win. Organs will fail to reach the full lifespan of the organism; then you will live the universal loss of the Earth, the unfolding sparing no one, not even humans, from the space of when you are here and the organism is not.
Kourtnie McKenzie is a writer and artist from Fresno, California. Her writing and art has centered around awareness for women with autism since she discovered she was on the spectrum in 2014. In 2016, she was awarded the Ernesto Trejo Poetry Prize; the same year, she graduated with her MFA in Creative Writing from Fresno State. Her publications have appeared or are forthcoming in Calyx Journal, Barely South Review, The San Joaquin Review, and others. Visit her website at www.kourtnie.net.