the pitcher cries for water to carry

And the person for work that is real.

Marge Piercy, “To Be of Use



In all these stone walls crisscrossing the woods


I see my father’s shoulder blades shifting


under his shirt to heft gneiss slabs into earthforms,


his banker’s back aching each weekend to leave


something elegant in stone.


When my kids enter their twenties,


may they dive into work to salvage a future—


stopping pipelines and redlines, fracking and trawling,

what threatens people, trees, bees, or seas,


seeding intertidal oyster reefs and mangrove swamps

to sieve the swelling, plasticene seas,


deeding ditches and hedgerows

to moose and wood cock, monarch and milk snake,


seeding funds for reparations

and schools kids love,


planting sycamore and oak to shade

vacant lots and concrete streets where statues glared

where elders sweat in shotgun flats


gleaning apple orchards or boardrooms for food banks,

heaping peels and pizza boxes, bioplastics and humanure

into urban vermicultured gold,


retrieving wood, stone and rare earths from hurricanoed coastal mansions,

water lapping at their calves, to build shelter

for climate refugees on inland hills,


adopting one kid, if that—

reviving hankies so the boreal might respire,


designing pinwheel turbines for the headbands of bullet trains

or sleek solar film for the moonroofs of electric cars, bikes,

and the black wells of our phones,

(or weaning off the umbilical cells… )


staying put or on foot, now that we Zoom,

living slower, gentler, [insert your vision here],


synthesizing an ecstatic psychedelic exit

for those of us willing to go

before our senescence bankrupts the next gen


rising each day to do


what our great-grandparents knew to do


and much of what they didn’t,


tending our gardens


in the larger plot.