Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Poetry Wednesday: "Sustainable Habitat"

I spent lots of time yesterday supporting various charities on "Giving Tuesday."  I loved the idea of doubling my donation.  I loved the idea of a special treat for donating.

As I drove to work yesterday, I heard about a recent outbreak of "porch pirates," people who steal the boxes from online merchants off of the front porches of customers. I had a sudden vision of ordering lots of books from small presses in the hopes that they would be stolen and find a larger audience. Instead, I increased my donations on this "Giving Tuesday."
It took me back to a time of ordering Christmas presents for my nephew--plush toys that would also support the preservation of wildlife habitat.  The juxtaposition was not lost on me:  plush toys being delivered across continents for a Christmas gift that would help preserve the habitats that our lifestyles are in the process of destroying.

From that juxtaposition, this poem arrived; it would later become part of my third chapbook Life in the Holocene Extinction:

Sustainable Habitat

Since she has stuck to her diet for several days, she rewards
herself with extra cashews
for her meal of yogurt and raspberries.
She prepares a new pot
of shade-grown, fair trade coffee.
She thinks about the miles traveled
to bring her breakfast to her.

She sorts through a pile of manuscripts,
children’s stories, one of the few types of books
her publishing company will still print on paper.
She notices how many of them
are based on stories from vanished
cultures. She makes notes about illustrators
and thinks of her own paints
now gathering dust.

Later, she orders Christmas presents
for the children: plush
toys that turn rapacious predators
into cuddly comfort. Her purchase
supports a fund to sustain habitat.

She orders a holiday treat for herself:
a sparkly jewelry set crafted
by a woman several continents
away. It will perfectly complement
her holiday outfit that was constructed
in a factory on an island that will sink
under the rising seas by the end of the century.


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