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What they call acts of god

How gorgeous is the snow and deadly.
The roads are gone under its drifts.
Hundreds of thousands without power
in a frozen world where the wind
howls like a pack of coywolves.

Already hypothermia fatalities
mount — which is to say, huddling
under blankets the old, the frail,
babies shivered, stopped shivering
and froze to death.

It costs too much to bury over-
head lines, the power company
officials say, who never went
without water, without light
never cowered in the frigid dark:

decisions made by those whom
they do not impact, do not kill.
We don’t believe in climate
change and besides, the cost
benefit ratio does benefit us.

Drought from agribusiness stealing
water. Lawns green in suburban
desert. Houses washed away from
cheaply done levees. In New Orleans
rebuild for the rich and tourists

and let the ninth ward rot into weeds.
Insurance companies hope you’ll
grow senile before they pay.
Politicians sit on money to rebuild.
And we call these natural disasters.

Marge Piercy is the author of eighteen poetry books, most recently The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems, 1980–2010 from Knopf. Her most recent novel is Sex Wars (Harper Perennial) and PM Press has republished Vida and Dance the Eagle to Sleep with new introductions.

2013, Volume 65, Issue 01 (May)
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