Malaise

By Gail Ingram, New Zealand

And Christmas is coming,
your friends are coming for dinner,
there’s shopping to be done
for a group, for a planet.
How to feel, apart
from general unease, I mean
how to feel empathy? Am I capable
of suffering? Nobody knows
what it means to die. Or is it a fault
of mine to curb? Another one,
how I always fly straight
to the end. Too big to comprehend,
we laugh at the loss of life
on a global scale. On route
we might feel pain – is this bad?
the shifting of seasons and Antarctica
a tropical forest, 36-degree water
around the equator, the lilies grow.
The last time we had this much carbon
the sea was as hot as our spa. And still
the ocean is warming. I’m looking
for a scream. I’m swooping
and sweeping for questions,
but why? The Goldilocks theory
comes to mind – how our planet spins
but not metaphorically, I don’t know
enough about the world to tell you
where I’m going with this. I know
it’s lime and yellow-frayed – the winter rose,
and the machinery grumbles next door,
the blackbird swoops and Christmas is upon us,
there are routines. As I drive
home from the groceries
these things I hear on National radio
about the UN, Myanmar. If there wasn’t such a thing
as genocide, if the president cared
about his people. Look here. The red geranium
flies from my mouth.
 

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