Conversations in art about ecological collapse and our place in the changing world

Conversation 4

Apology and Plea to Winter in Retreat
Anita Lahey

Say it’s a whopping ice-age sized mistake,
greenhouse gas a convenient ruse.
The season’s fed up: metaphor makes
January joyless, February’s reduced
to bleakness, ragged hands and grief.
I was reading Shakespeare and I sighed
over winter as absence, a barren simile
still tempting poets today. I’ll confide:
our minds covet snowflake precision,
our hearts understand snowsquall’s might.
Would you please cool off your position,
ice up the peaks, lay down frost overnight?
Forget Sonnets 5, 12 and 98.
We’ll buy long johns; we’ll learn to skate.

April
Laurie D. Graham

The meteorologists are pleading with us to keep checking back
through the storm, ice pellets making a carpet two, three inches
thick, this pale beach we walk on, this wind that passed over
the bodies of the lakes and the lakes that froze it, the arctic
sunk deep, meeting our cheeks, gathering on us, this snake’s
rattle of weather, this sand storm of ice six inches deep and
climbing, these April showers.

Hydric
Tom Cull

The city spits in the river.
The sea pie-charts
our ancestry.

I stand in another’s boot prints.
The sun hollows out mink tracks.
A goose walks on water.
A beaver gnaws bone.

All winter, Asian carp fry
circled the bathtub,
fattening on frisky treats
and creamed corn.
I fill my wellies with their
swishing bodies
and walk out to my waist.

That is your dream:
dimetrodons eating
giant swamp salamanders
stepping in mud, making
tracks we keep collecting.

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