|by Eden Bailie|
there were only elements and planetary breaths, water cooling magma, birth, creation-eating-creation, fungi feeding from a purer death
no cathedrals for praise, only treetops, trees for everyone
with swaying leaf steeples reaching up and out to touch a creator’s fingertip
and early-age worshippers led home in quiet night forests by shaman oaks.
then theft, progression
european shovels cutting
invisible lines drawn to separate unknowing dirt
learning how to disassemble fibers of wood and rearrange them into the shape of home and capitol buildings; the process repeated until Forest became foreign
and the darkness between trees no longer guided by shamans but polluted by folktale witches
then the patches of dirt United.
and the soil became all-American, red
checker picnic blanketed, striped and starred, cherry flavored,
chewed and fracked by metal teeth;
our nature reduced to national park pamphlets sitting in glove compartments with ketchup packets
— and now, we’re left to pick up the pieces, with a segmented history of our relationship with earth
mantras of fear hovering above us in hot clouds
while we contribute to a sour system because that’s all we know.
and guilty shaking questions of
what to do
how to do it
float up and dissipate like steam
as we watch our children run through fields that won’t be there for their children
so we hand our hope to them like a smoldering torch.
we decide to give them what remains; give them seeds to plant what will be
let them be born in their own homes
into the feeling of knitted wool and wooden floors
let them paint with beets, chew on roots
teach them to pray over bee homes
give them backyards with a swell of decomposing scraps to feed the ground;
this year’s tomatoes feeding the next, this year’s children teaching the next
until the wounds heal.
Eden Bailie is a published poet and student based in Bethlehem, where she reads and writes to pass the time until the world ends.
Published in the 2020 edition of Sustainable Lehigh Valley