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Friday, August 02, 2019


by Devon Balwit

The destruction of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil has increased rapidly since the nation’s new far-right president took over and his government scaled back efforts to fight illegal logging, ranching and mining. —The New York Times, July 28, 2019. Photo: Deforestation in the Western Amazon region of Brazil.CreditCarl De Souza/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images via The New York Times

The Amazon is ours, not yours, he says,
as if our fates could remain distinct, as if
his clearcutting didn’t squeeze
the air from our lungs, as if the surf

didn’t tumble trash from all continents
into the same vortex, as if our reefs
could keep their brightness despite vents
elsewhere off-gassing. It’s grief

I feel as he smiles and shakes hands with
his environmental minister. So happy
they seem to defraud the children of both
hemispheres of green. His economy

will rise but briefly before it fails,
as our shared earth sears and pales.

Devon Balwit's most recent collection is titled A Brief Way to Identify a Body (Ursus Americanus Press). Her individual poems can be found in here as well as in Jet Fuel, The Worcester Review, The Cincinnati Review, Tampa Review, Apt (long-form issue), Tule Review, Grist, and Rattle among others.