We’re Well Trained


A mass of ice broke off the Antarctic today.*
It was four times the size of London,

a quarter the size of Wales,
the size of Delaware.
It weighs a trillion tonnes and floats there where it broke,

anchored or indecisive, we don’t know.

Where could it go?

Everywhere lies threats these days,

if the news agencies are to be believed.
My stomach remembered its tired, dull stone

aching as an old bruise

prodded by a familiar hand.
I read about the Doomsday Clock in 1984,
ticking its way to midnight.

My nights were a hope desert,
swallowed into mushroom clouds
magicked from Reagan’s waxy fingers.
And here we are again,
the familiar drum of the world’s end coming
by broken shelves of ice
and nuclear winters
and white men who can’t stop hoarding more
of what they won’t ever even see.
We let them broadcast through our cameras
while we grieve what they’re taking.
We expect the lies.
It’s all so much like the men who told us to be quiet
while they did their work when we were children,
the ones who assumed agency and power were not ours,
the ones who let us touch their tools
if we showed a deferential gratitude.
We know how to hate them —
it’s as easy as concealing our disgust
when they place those entitled hands on the smalls of our backs.
We’re well trained.
We whisper and pretend we’ve got them licked.
We never did know how to fix our fathers.

* This refers to an ice shelf that broke from Anarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf in mid-2017.

April is National Poetry Month, so I’m publishing poetry for NaPoWriMo throughout the month.