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Tuesday, December 10, 2019


by Cathryn Shea

You benefit today from your innocent
enthusiasm for worms, grasshoppers,
and anthills. You study foxtails
and poppies, wade in the Yuba River.

When you read this in high school,
my hope is that you are in a public one.
Well-funded, or at least with an adequate budget
for the arts. I hope your summer is still
not breaking heat records
and in winter the Yuba does not flood
causing mudslides.

I hope you do not suffer premature neck strain
from bending over your cell phones.
If you have cell phones or know of cell phones.
Perhaps you wear a device attached to your eyes.
Perhaps you wear an embedded chip.

Does anyone mention climate change anywhere?
(That was a euphemism anyway.)
Is capitalism still running rampant?
Does your vocabulary even include such words?
Have robots taken over the classroom?

I ask you too many questions
and I apologize. By the way,
did you know apologia is the root
of apologize? Such a beautiful word

of remorse. I can’t imagine your vernacular.
I digress. (Oh, I can just hear you chiding.
Grandma uses too many strange words.)

I do hope there is still a Nature you can escape to.
Where the din of machinery can’t be heard.
Where artificial radiance
does not vie with the night sky.

Cathryn Shea is the author of four chapbooks including Backpack Full of Leaves (Cyberwit, 2019) and Secrets Hidden in a Pear Tree (dancing girl press, 2019). Her first full-length poetry collection Genealogy Lesson for the Laity is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press in September 2020. Cathryn’s poetry appears in New Orleans Review, Tar River Poetry, Typehouse, and elsewhere. See @cathy_shea on Twitter.