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Tuesday, May 31, 2016


by Wendy Taylor Carlisle

Coral reef scientists estimate that mass bleaching has killed 35% of corals on the northern and central Great Barrier Reef. After months of intensive aerial and underwater surveys, researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies have released an initial estimate of the death toll from coral bleaching. The impact, which is still unfolding, changes dramatically from north to south along the 2300km length of the Reef. “We found on average, that 35% of the corals are now dead or dying on 84 reefs that we surveyed along the northern and central sections of the Great Barrier Reef, between Townsville and Papua New Guinea,” says Professor Terry Hughes, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University (JCU). “Some reefs are in much better shape, especially from Cairns southwards, where the average mortality is estimated at only 5%. —ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, May 30, 2016

A child, I dreamed of a metropolis of no kind I knew.
I can figure it out later, I said. Then came the boutique shoes.
What did I understand about those except to say no?
Over the tulle, I turned up my nose.

I spoke from the temple of childhood, from the fever-dream of growing up,
predicted no water to drink, more lost land, moaned, it will all
be gone soon—Saks Fifth, the city pool, the Port O’ Call, ousted
like Clyde Beatty's circus and its lions--to make room for other recreations.

In my first home, they taught fashion which is disguised prejudice
and manners which are mostly separation and meanness.
But what is my recollection? I was all mouth and adolescence.
I had yet to learn only compassion with gravy on its chin will sustain us.

And could I have dreamed an ocean stilled by its freight of CO2,
its islands of plastic? No. I could never imagine saltwater
stretched over  uncountable suffocated lives could not
foretell the piled and boundless bones of coral ravaged by a yacht.

Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives and write in the Ozarks. She is the author of two books and three chapbooks, most recently Persephone on the Metro. See her work in Concis, Rat’s Ass Review, Mom Egg Review and upcoming in the Kentucky Review.