Cappuccinos for the Planet

Summer, 2010 / No. 24

CNN offers round-the-clock coverage

of a gaunt polar bear swimming

for an ice shelf; an astronaut cut loose

during a space walk. Ratings soar as we

begin to understand the great love

of floodwaters for what is submerged,

and feel even our vilest waste vindicated.

On the coast, a dockworker mutters

a blessing with his last breath,

then accepts the undertow.

The colossal scrap-iron olive branch

erected over Toronto has grown carious

and collapsed. Grief-stricken citizens

find slag in the Kleenex

as they blow their red noses, turn up

air conditioners for the soothing hum.

The prophet’s DVD has sold out,

and his tour tickets are prohibitively dear.

In Kensington Market you score a bootleg,

watch it in the living room with the lights out.

And in an archway across the street,

a pair of pretty red lips insinuates smoke rings

into the closing dusk. You add yours to the millions

of eyes that, right now,

hold vigil in warm coffee-shop windows,

thinking very hard about snow.