Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Coral Calls Out Anthropocentric Despair

Bleaching, the final loneliness—
zooxanthellae leeched
from our daggered harbors,

our colorless architecture
as vulnerable to your narratives
as your architecture

is to earthquake—
the earth doesn’t know
how to rest and you

don’t know how to gather
the broad hive of your
mind into glorious undoing.

So you photograph our cities
for posterity—the crabs and shrimp,
sponges and sea fans.

But none of us eat photographs.
None of us cosset memories.
Soon a full moon will urge

us to spawn and water will glow
with our small ornaments.
Beautiful, you say,

as your boats leave oil slicks, as above
in that ghastly place where no ocean
murmurs, your engines rev.

We know some of you weep; water speaks
of all its lives to us. But your grief
is that of a murderer

planting roses beside the victim’s grave.
Self is your first crime. Know
we were never yours—

to harm, to admire, to repair.  

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