Vox Populi

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Philip Terman: The Frackin’ Poem

Scarlet tanagers, thrushes, warblers, hawks,

spotted salamanders, skunk and possum,

all the invisible insects—

.

the native shrubs, the wild flowers,

all the trees cut down, the altered

light patterns, the shifting forest canopy,

.

all giving way for the gravel roads,

the trucks and tankers and dust,

hauling their chemical cocktails:

.

the methanol, the isopropyl alcohol,

the ethylene glycon, the crystalline silica,

and all the other toxins, according

.

to the Halliburton loophole, the industry

refuses to disclose, the toxins that cause

blurry vision, severe stomach cramps,

.

burning noses, swollen tongues, headaches,

hair loss, ear pressure, horses that won’t leave the barn—

smell of sulphur, rotten egg, nail polish,

.

water burning out of faucets—

the heavy axles invading

across our farms, compacting the topsoil,

.

reducing plant growth, increasing

the runoff, the erosion like a fully-loaded

cement mixture hauling itself across a lawn

.

after a heavy rainfall, all the way

to our watersheds: the Ohio, the Susquehanna,

the Delaware, the Erie, the Genesee, the Potomac—

.

not to mention the 86, 000 miles of streams

and rivers, the 161, 445 acres of lakes,

the 403, 924 acres of wetlands—

.

the drilling through aquifers, the potential for leakage,

the uranium, the radioactive radon stored

in that black rock that is almost 400 million years old—

.

that shale that has survived from the Devonian age,

that stone of shelled swimmers, like squids,

of plant-like animals related to starfish called sea lilies,

.

that earth, that earth that once we contaminate,

we can never reclaim, that earth

that when we frack, we frack ourselves.

Copyright 2015 Philip Terman

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