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Wednesday, September 26, 2007


by Joe Paddock

It is said
that those smokestack particulates
that rise to dirty our skies
and cloud our lungs
form a second sooty shield above
that one of gasses that hold in heat,
that flatulence risen from
our zipping around down here
in the throes of fear and desire.

It’s said
that our second shield,
formed of coal-fire’s black bits and other
dirt-bucket stuff, does us some good
down here. Though dimming
our dear old globe a little,
it fends off a deeper heat
sulking mean above,
easing some the simmering of
this strange stew we now
find ourselves in.

Joe Paddock is a poet, oral historian, and environmental writer who lives in Litchfield, Minnesota. His most recent books include the biography of wilderness preservationist Ernest Oberholtzer, Keeper of the Wild, and a collection of poems, A Sort of Honey.