by Elaine Reardon, United States
Earth tried to be the bright blue light in the Milky Way galaxy, but it had become so difficult to respire, difficult to keep her fish alive in oceans, wearying to preserve forests, impossible to clean rivers and lakes. She watched chestnut, maple, pine, bear, haddock, whales, all struggle and deplete. Pipelines filled with gas and oil tattooed across her fields, her rivers. Smoke and smog enclosed cities all over her girth. More cars, more lights blinked in skyscrapers, more profit made from the fruits of her body. The land that is her body, water that is her blood, air that is her breath, changed. It is lonely, she thought, dying while no one noticed.