Anthropocene Anxiety Disorder
Our whole world is burning
& I am terrified by the mundane
-ness of it all. The scent of smoke
a season of its own. Sometimes, I mistake
the breeze passing through my hair
for the soft approach of flames.
A poem has no allegiance
to the truth. & even as I tell it
I fear you won’t believe me.
Last summer, Paradise burned.
Every newspaper ran the same photo:
McDonalds’ golden arches
swaddled in flame. Forgive me.
I was, for a moment, glad
to see my stepfather’s home
vanish. I did not think of the dead.
Watched Snapchats of the freeway
medians, their camisoles of smoke,
& remembered five summers before
waking in a fire’s path. The strange calm
in our truck’s cab, the campsite
flickering orange in the rearview.
Do you think that we’ll survive
long enough for this to read
as fiction? There are cameras
floating in space, turned inward,
that will outlive us. The Arctic
smolders in their lens’ eye & I wonder
if this is the last monument man will build
large enough to dream that god will notice.
Photograph of torrin a. greathouse by Tarik Dobbs.