“Thaw” by David O’Connell

David O’Connell


Mid-March, noon, the sunlight presses
warm against the city like a hand.

The T.V. says it’s record-breaking,
says it’s toppled ’47, and this streak

may last the week. Ties loosed, blouses
cut low and blooming color,

the lunch hour crowds rejoice. Music
blasts in snippets. Skaters rocket

from the steps of the museum
where office workers picnic

and the statuary fairly glows.
Today, winter is a dread

forgotten. And more than once,
stepping from the bus, waiting

at the corner for the light, I’ve heard
a total stranger say global warming

to no one in particular, with a shrug
and grin that means, at least today,

destruction’s on our side, which means,
we might as well enjoy the fall.

I think, on days like this, beautiful days,
we believe the Earth suffers

the way we know a child suffers
halfway round the world from drought.

The T.V. tells us so.
Which means we believe it

the way we know we become dirt,
or, somehow, less than even that.

from Rattle #31, Summer 2009

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