I Clasped the Earth by Mara Lemanis

I Clasped the Earth 


I clasped the Earth today

an infant clinging 
to the womb 
that nursed my roots
bewildered by the
ceaseless incubation
the fast resolve
to keep on course
despite the asteroid's blast
that blew a hole in your veins
exploding holocausts
of lava hotter
than the sun
despite volcanic fumes
that vaporized your forests
and smothered your skin
in ash and soot
no light could breach

Plants died, woods died
creatures of land and sea
thrust up from ocean floors
from continents greening
to fall back

like powder 
on your crust
broken burned drowned
as oxygen choked and
carbon stopped cycling

Defying the insult
you did what
had to be done
froze four miles thick
the muscles of your face
and coaxed the sun again
to slice the dark
to harvest glaciers into lakes
to glut your home
with tropic syrup

Palms pines sequoia cedars
bees drunk on nectar
butterflies on pollen
fertilizing orchids lilies magnolia trees
plums cherries wild strawberries
a kingdom of mammals
lemurs squirrels beavers whales

 The whole world sweated
dining on leaves on seeds
gliding from trunk to branch
lazy with casual swelter
only the shark had a nose
hardwired for business
but you felt a change
in the works
that the bridges
you built across straits
would cool ocean flows
would shake down
the carbon

You rolled out
carpets of grass
summoned the genius
of hominids
bold creatures
walking proud
walking tall
hair teeth two legs
and a mind
for playing odds

I lie down with Earth
a capsule in time
stocked mega millions strong
a chemical farm
for growth and ruin
I rest myself
an outcrop of Earth
to let my body know
what debts I sow
in its generous yield.


--Mara Lemanis