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“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” ––Alice Walker And so I stand here and call power. I stand here and call water. I call creeks. Lakes. Pools. Sinkholes. Tide pools with turban snails and starfish—the ones that have come back to the West Coast, climbing over rocks on white tube feet, resilient, as nature can be resilient. I call shinbones of water skinnying down into sluice boxes. Brackish water, sulfur-smelling water, sludge. Rain in rain barrels, clear water spilling over dams and clear water that has never been dammed. I confront the brink even though I’m part of the brink. I call snow geese sifting onto the rice fields, honking. White-fronted geese. Brant. I call the shapes of leaves: spatulate, cordate, pinnate, lanceolate. I call the hole in the ozone. Pollen. Luciferin. Chitin. I call rare plants and animals coming back because of the fire: fishers, black-backed woodpeckers, globe mallows, morels. I call fire. And fire answers with its flaming mouth and strange whining pronunciation as it clears the underbrush and the hole in the ozone answers that it is closing and the leaves answer a twelve-year-old boy planted a million trees And luciferin blinks on and off and illuminates what has been buried so long under tons of dark water and pollen blows into the faces of climbers who hung all night in slings from the St. John’s Bridge to stop Shell drilling the Arctic and water answers Belize banned offshore oil and protected the second largest barrier reef in the ocean and my power answers I’ve always known my hand could have been a leaf: Hemoglobin and chlorophyll almost the same. Only one atom different.
Ellery Akers’ latest book is Swerve: Poems on Environmentalism, Feminism, and Resistance (1st World Publishing, 2020).
Copyright 2020 Ellery Akers