UN Climate Panel’s Last Words

My hands in dishwater, sinking
in suds, earbuds in—so I don’t disturb
the house with news that claws
its way into my brain and scratches
its talons across my heart, drawing blood,
springing a leak. We’re on thin ice.
About to go under. What could I craft
that would not weep us into non-existence?
My salty tears quickening the melt, softening
the cracked edges of ice that float a Hollywood remedy
across the rising horizon. Everything, everywhere,
all at once. Is dying.     And tonight it’s steak and fries
at somebody’s house and there’s still hope
and no one wants to move the earth
to palliative care. I want to scream. Like I did
when my mother’s blood turned black and she refused
to eat, every organ filled with cancer. Still,
they denied, until I shouted in that nice nurse’s office
and a wild wind flung open the casement window,
knocking the vase of pink tulips across the floor,
shattering petals, shards of glass, cool water rising.
Drowning us all.

About the Poem

“The UN’s international science panel on climate change has released what is likely its final report before the world hits 1.5 C of warming, one of the temperature targets that countries aimed not to exceed when they signed the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2016.”
While washing the dishes last night, I listened to the news and wept at the most recent report by the UN’s international science panel on climate change/crisis. Humanity is on thin ice; we’ve been so for a while, across all domains. And, given our experience over the past 5 years, of how we seem unable to care for each other let alone our more-than-human kin, I am distraught and the story made me think about palliative care, the bardo, and my mother’s death.

About the Author

Nancy Huggett is a settler descendant who writes and is a caregiver on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg people (Ottawa, Canada). Thanks to Firefly Creative, Merritt Writers, and not-the-rodeo poets, she has work coming out/forthcoming in Citron Review, EVENT, One Art, Pinhole Poetry, Prairie Fire, The New Quarterly, and Waterwheel Review.Twitter: @nancyhuggett Instagram: nanhug

2 thoughts on “UN Climate Panel’s Last Words”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *