Degrees of Disaster
we melt at one hundred and eleven, eggs fry on sidewalks,
bare feet blister, reports of heat stroke, usually foggy mornings
blaze up to hot at dawn as degrees mount into swelter.
Fans and ice water are not keeping me safe, one more risk
to this crumbling body with its tenuous balance of flesh.
The earth plays bad cop, sweats out my confession at night
when it cools to ninety-two and sleep remains in a distant valley,
I cough air smoky from fires and an orange moon near full
jacklights my bed, pins me to consider guilt: those lovely
long drives for the pleasure of driving, my fifteen-minute idle
while the windshield ice melts in winter, open-window idle
with car AC on blast until the steering wheel cools for comfort,
how many bottles of water have I purchased and casually tossed,
how many weeds have I sprayed. Confess: recycled bottles,
and cardboard is too little, too late. Meatless Mondays not enough.
Glaciers melt, seas rise, floods and drought and forest fires—
a roundabout of destruction—earth will find equilibrium
with sapien fossils for whatever comes next.