Ellery Akers: We Have the Power to Pull Back from the Brink
“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.
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 oiland protected the second largest barrier reefin 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.