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Tuesday, October 02, 2018


by Tricia Knoll

Firefighters from Brea, Calif., inspect and cut fireline on Aug. 1, 2018, as the Ranch Fire burns near Upper Lake, Calif. A day earlier, it and the River Fire totaled more than 74,000 acres. (Stuart W. Palley/For The Washington Post)

Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous seven degrees by the end of this century. . . . But the administration did not offer this dire forecast, premised on the idea that the world will fail to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, as part of an argument to combat climate change. Just the opposite: The analysis assumes the planet’s fate is already sealed.  —The Washington Post, September 28, 2018

You suspect you had a brainstorm.
Lightning on the horizon,
a seizure of holy illumination.

You picture a future
of invisible footprints walking
the boundaries of ignorant blizzards.

For me, fear’s fire crackles
everything green to charcoal. 
I forget to breathe.

                    We dream in the same bed.

Two parents mourn over
the white casket of a kindergartner.
The shooter hears a tardy bell clang.

                    They pushed the panic bar on the same door.

Everyone talks.
No one listens.
Storms scream.

Chaos unbalances prediction.
Imagination wobbles
on an uneasy axis.

We try to anticipate
the never-know

of what we have done.

Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet who wonders how many voices it will take to make everyone demand we address the climate crisis. Records of wind, rain, flood, fire, typhoons . . . The unthinkable is happening every day. All around us. She was a responder to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Her most recent collection of poetry is How I Learned To Be White.