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Can’t You See It Coming?

Fires crackle in the brittle trees
bled dry by drought, the grass,
bleached straw on the dusty hills
where rain no longer falls
in what used to be its season.

Polar bears fight to the death
on floating islands of loose
ice that once were solid.
They are starving as sea bird
nests float like uprooted bladderwrack.

Bread baskets of the plains
will blow in the long arid winds
as dust. The rice fields
will go under rising tides.
The only catch for fishermen—

huge beached shoals of dying
creatures whose waters have
grown lethally warm. What do
we do to solve this disaster we
are creating for all living

on this planet except beetles
cockroaches and flies?
We conquer more oil.
We burn more oil and coal.
We burn and we burn and

we burn. Our smoke rises
stinking incense to the heavens
while we drown our grand
children in refuse and oily muck.
Gentlemen, start your engines.

Marge Piercy’s most recent novel is Sex Wars: A Novel of the Turbulent Post-Civil War Period (New York: William Morrow, 2005), and her newest book of poetry is The Crooked Inheritance (Knopf, 2006).

2006, Volume 58, Issue 07 (December)
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