A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
1. The Diminished World Most of the time I don’t want to know about it But whatever we can’t understand is falling as rain into moraines and vernal pools hissing onto the soaked canopies of alders with their leaf scars so the branches are shaking and the seas are rising When I was born I thought I’d be taken from the earth I didn’t think the earth would be taken from me 2. Fewer The monarchs are fewer just one or two today fluttering over the ocean Sometimes I can’t stand to think of the sea becoming barren the kelp gone the sculpin just a sheen on the water At least we can’t thin the stars out of the sky 3. Journey of an Environmentalist After I’d locked myself in with my petitions and my checkbook and my computer, and after I’d given up reading the news, because reading the news was like opening a freezer and smelling stale ice— I sat down next to the grass and fell in love with the earth again: I noticed the grass blades had hairs that looked the same as the hairs on the back of my hand— blade meet hand, meet blade. 4. To the Insects Who Are Leaving Us You never seemed to steer. You mostly fluttered or wavered or sank a little in the air. Once in while you aimed— at an intruder, at a hive. Once in a while you dropped. Once in a while you drifted onto a page I was reading and I blew you gently away. Lacewings. Thrips. Once I saw a lake surrounded by banks of forget-me-nots— they lifted and floated away—damselflies! Boxelder bugs stuck end to end in spring, mating and walking along at the same time— Crickets with ears in their knees— Dragonflies eating mosquitoes, discarding their wings in a glittering pile— If you love insects you can never feel alone, said one entomologist. There is Roundup in the air and in the rain. Atrazine in the snow. Neonics in the honey. Sometimes I stopped to watch you shine: With your chitin. With your stingers. With your pollen.
Ellery Akers’ latest book is Swerve: Poems on Environmentalism, Feminism, and Resistance (1st World Publishing, 2020).
Copyright 2020 Ellery Akers