Arts + Scene » Poetry

Advice to a Student

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Much as despair seems the only dance move left,

the Klamath will not die, no matter how much of it

irrigators divert to the valley, no matter

if they fail to tear down the dams

 

to flush away the blue green algae and the pesticides,

no matter if the last remaining coho and the short and long-nosed suckers

all perish, along with the anachronistic green sturgeon.  The Native Americans

who have fished the river, yes, even if they all die

 

from eating the white man's shit, and fishermen cannot catch a single fish,

even then the river will abide patiently.  So, too, the ocean,

choked with trash, acidifying, its lungs scorched with CO2, even if all life forms

perish—and even if we fill the skies with so much carbon,

 

like Venus, it should rain acid upon the earth, even then, the earth

will live on, long after our story matters less with every passing day.

— David Holper

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