Now in the people that were meant to be green there is no more life of any kind. There is only shriveled barrenness. The winds are burdened by the utterly awful stink of evil, selfish goings-on. Thunderstorms menace. The air belches out the filthy uncleanliness of the peoples. The earth should not be injured! The earth must not be destroyed!
–Hildegarde of Bingen

Wind today drives gravel like buckshot

into everyone’s lungs, even mule deer

nibbling the sweet new leaves of scrub oak that

appear to be as dead as the road-killed jackrabbit

begging help from the far flow of the Milky Way.


What can we make of sun that sets like a platinum moon

ghosting monstrous miles of thick blown dust from China

like a B-grade science fiction movie as we drive the high plateau

home in the Southern Rockies? Where once ravens flew

through the atmosphere’s clarity, roils

an ocean of grit, icy and gray as powdered concrete.


And, in the brood mare pasture, a fat black gas storage tank

squats next to a fracking well installed a week ago, cast

iron toadstool blocking the view of earth’s sacred curve.

My feet tingle from months of chemo assault

that murdered nerves. Did the horses or ravens

or I ask for benzene infused in water we drink?


On NPR we listen to a scientist discuss

the reality of Climate Change, reassuring us

that we can adjust. The President tweets

it’s all a hoax. I switch on the blues,

Muddy Waters, whose Mississippi Delta voice

churns through heartbreak’s murk, the sludge of backwater

lies smothering us. Somehow, Muddy lifts our chins

as we exit another smoky bar of longing.


How can the stars we’ve loved for years cut clear maps

through this vast dust obliterating the highest peaks, storm

ravens dare, wings curved like scythes we ride

from one dead tree to the next?