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Wednesday, June 26, 2019


by Judy Kronenfeld

Because we are old, and will be,
conveniently, dead

Because no parent or grandparent
can bear to think of it

Because the elephant’s in the room,
but we are blind, and cannot

And the will needed is like the will
of a mobilized ant colony
with group mind

Because the everyday is still
preoccupying, comforting, beautiful,
and Noah needs help cutting out snowflakes
for the kindergarten bulletin board
with its autumn leaves, spring rain, summer
daisies, and Sophia needs to find her cleats
for soccer practice

Because the expansion of the universe
is speeding up into ever more dizzying infinities,
exponential zeroes of space-time
empty of us, or almost anything, and emptying

And what’s a billion hardly forever years
of seasons, anyway—wet and dry, hot and cold, grief
and peace—before we brown, boil, burn,
and are swallowed by the sun,
and who says we, relatively new kid on the block,
at only 200,000 orbits around that star,
will still be here when the oceans begin
to evaporate?

Because our planet is already haunting us
like a memorial portrait, as we write
our lost-cause civilizations off.
It turns inside my mind,
courtesy Google Earth, day and night:
with its perfect halo
of atmosphere, its cool webbing
of gossamer or clotted clouds, and the stilled golden
explosions of New York, Los Angeles,
Shanghai, Mumbai, Moscow, Istanbul,
Rome, Paris, London.

Judy Kronenfeld is the author of four full-length collections and two chapbooks of poetry, including Bird Flying through the Banquet (FutureCycle, 2017), Shimmer (WordTech, 2012), and Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths, 2nd edition (Antrim House, 2012)—winner of the 2007 Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize. Her poems have appeared in Cider Press Review, Cimarron Review, Connotation Press, DMQ Review, Ghost Town, Miramar, Natural Bridge, One (Jacar Press), Rattle, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and other journals, and in more than twenty anthologies.