by Tiffany Lindfield, USA
It's a bitter wail, An enduring whimper that Doesn’t cauterize in the ember, Or asphyxiate in the ash. We could grieve one fish, But how do we grieve the whole ocean, And the pearls stolen from the mollusks? We could grieve one fallen primate, But how do we grieve hundreds of troops sacked, And baby orangutans screaming from sterile lab cages? We could grieve one ice sheet collapsing, But how do we grieve the melting of the North, And the polar bears scavenging trash to kill the hunger in their bellies? Once, a photographer caught a polar bear mother eating a left behind couch. Her cubs had already starved; their bodies tossed like bean bags in the snow. We could grieve one tree, But how do we grieve the entire forest, And the paws of a thousand Koala bears melted to bark? We could grieve one elephant and her tusk, But how do we grieve the industry of ivory, And their almond eyes staring back at us, pleading to know? We could grieve one river once at roar, But how do we grieve every drop poisoned, And the virulent sludge rolling onto the land, slaughtering the crop? What you put in the river, You drink from the river. We could grieve one flower turned incel, But how do we grieve the meadow mowed down, And the Echinacea’s bloom bowing from pride stolen? We could grieve one bee down, But how do we grieve thousands of colonies gone, And the buzzing of their wings silenced? We could grieve one piglet murdered, But how do we grieve billions trapped in factory hell, And those pink curly tails ripped from their bodies? We have bowed to the reaper, Understanding that to implore him was futile, But how do we accept that we are the scythe?