Climate Change

We fly home from summer
with Che t-shirts and tans.
As we leave the airport
January rasps in our ears.
The frosted taxi window numbs un-mittened fingers
as we try to scratch back to yesterday.
Already the afternoon is slipping
into something black and dangerous.
I’m forgetting the sky’s largesse and how
turquoise seas clear a congested heart.
In the middle of the night
metal teeth gnash through air vents
as the furnace fumes.
The last warm-weather wish sails
out of my mind –
this long narrow night,
carbon heating the house,
dissolving the earth’s bones, taking
our breath away.
In the morning I drive
through smog and snow-crippled streets
always hitting
dead ends and cold shoulders.
My bitterness could burn all winter long.
Dear Lord,
Let the smoke from the chimneys
of this winter town drop from the sky
like manna.
Give us this day
a cultural revolution, a climactic change
of mind. Deliver us
a wide, expansive view and a few degrees
of human warmth.
Allow us to dream
backwards to Raven stealing the moon
and the young man who retrieves it.
For love, they say.
I kiss your peeling back.
For once let’s do something for love.

~ Joan Crate

Joan Crate’s third poetry book, Suburban Legends, was recently released (late March 2009, actually) by Freehand Press. She lives in Calgary and Red Deer and teaches English at Red Deer College.

“I guess ‘home’ like everything else in life is fluid, changing. By definition (mine), home is a place where I am comfortable, though I’d be more comfortable in both homes if my kids would clean up after themselves more often! Nevertheless, they (including their messiness) do contribute to infusing a physical structure with emotional warmth.”

Editor’s note: This poem is from Home and Away – a sequel to the bestselling Writing the Land (2007). Look for one poet to be featured each day as Alberta poets ponder the question “what is home?” and explore our complex relationship with working on, living with, exploiting and protecting our land and our home. For more information about the project, click here.

One Response to “Climate Change”

  1. Joan Crate, “Climate Change”:

    A quiet profundity, with its beginning of fear and fancy; its uncertain, yet careful mid movement “all winter long”; and the final discreet re-invention of Lord and Raven.

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