Global Warming

Even so, it’s a cold spring

I unroll the map of the watershed, and my fingers trace the blue threads of the rivers

as I’d touch the veins on my throat

I chant kalmia latifolia.   pinus silvestris.   geum odoratissimum

as if I might travel once more the fresh land of the Choctaw and the Creek

as if the hooves of my horse, like Bartram’s, might splash red with the juice
             of the trampled berries

I fill the gas tank, chart the wobble of the earth, its tilt, the shape of its orbit

The words I taste—Milankovich, albedo—melt on my tongue like the Greenland
             ice sheet

Hear the beat of the drum?  That’s my heart

Come now let us reason together

Because the honeycreeper

Because a bag of bones on a museum shelf in Mauritius

Because clouds thicken like swamp gas in the marshlands

Because the fetus will not ripen

Because the relict trillium, and the tanager, and the wren

Because the solar flare of blackflies on our skin

Because malaria, because dengue fever

Because of the dieback and the auction block

Because the kestrel

Because the peach orchard is a memory of mildew, ash blue

Because the fetus will not ripen

Because earth everywhere is archipelago

Because I taste the words, and these words, these words they stick in my throat.


From Second Nature (LSU Press, 2010). Copyright © 2010 by Margaret Gibson. Used with the permission of the author.