Fiction · 07/22/2020

Emergency Plan

The Rulers of A Large, Rich Island

Find what is better at being water than water, dig up what is better at being land than land. Pretend the ground is horizontal and build vertically to the sky. Assigning direction and parallel slopes to lines will prevent them from intersecting. Simulations approximate infinity. We are calling it land reclamation. We will erect the new parts of ourselves out of sand, and this is not dislocation, but relocation, not depletion, but recovery. A transplant, an organ shifting into place. It never belonged to the sea. The sea’s wounds are too deep for our small language of loss.

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The Institute for the Study of Everywhere Else

To the Small, Poor Islands: We estimate that in twenty years you will be well-trained in the art of disappearance. We recommend you look to your neighboring Large, Rich Island for guidance, as detailed in our report Maximizing Value from Land as Scarce Resource. Using the Large, Rich Island as a Singular Case Study, we have detailed strategies, such as the construction of Very Large Floating Structures, and the assessment of your island’s Unique Geography, such as its mineral ratios that determine its Capacity To Be Hollowed Out. Indeed we were taken by delight and surprise that the Large, Rich Island was able to transform itself so quickly, and we would advise you similarly. Do not confuse places with history for places with futures. Let the hunger of your shores be the mother of your ingenuity.

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The Woman Who Plants Mangroves

I walk along the coast with my skirt rolled up to check on how they are doing. I tell my daughter to hold the fragile roots in her palm while I clean off the algae. The roots are thin like the threads she pulls loose from her underwear, but I tell her to imagine a day when they are dense and tangled, limbs thick with memory, voices loud enough to tell the sea what it has lost. She looks past me, dreaming like I taught her to.

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Emily Sun is a writer and artist from Colorado. She has worked in education at the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.