This morning I rose so early that not a living thing
was awake. Smokestacks, lungs, crows, bulldozers—
all were silent and still.
I asked the earth for forgiveness, but she was silent.
She could not fathom what I’d done to her or for her;
What does she know of my carbon footprint?
I don’t deserve pandemics, dictators, drought.
She was silent and still;
What can she say of my guilt and aspirations?
Life began to stir. Blood circulated, tree rings grew,
chainsaws cawed like starving crows.
I made my perennial promise—nothing will be the same.
Nothing is ever the same, of course: Look away
long enough and earth becomes unrecognizable,
and then it’s nighttime and our lungs fill with hope again.