And when the charts started coming out, we saw that it had already been warming our whole lives. The good old days & how things used to be had already always been abnormal. My people had already always been abnormal. The smokestacks’d already done their deed: their garrote to the neck of mammalia, their Molotov Cocktail to amphibia. We raise kids in lifeless yards of Scotts and Pantone 7741. Some of us already watched the frogs, and knew. Some of us already watched the flocks grow small, and knew. And when the charts started coming out, the graphics showing red & redder, we chanted degrees to the skies: a bedtime prayer, a request for absolution, a plea for benediction. We were begging for a bandage to put on a knee scraped from falling while trying to get a better view of a praying mantis when we were eight because somehow we knew we needed to study its form, its penitent pose, because somehow we knew we needed an extra Amen for every factory shift, no rosaries enough to make up for the Styx forming with a drip from a degree here, a degree there until the world is a river. We cleaned scraped knees with water that flowed without ever touching plastic, oh the water that had never dreamed of plastic.
Mitchell Nobis lives in Metro Detroit with his family and dog. His poetry has appeared in Roanoke Review, 433, Dunes Review, and others, and is forthcoming in Porcupine Literary. He hosts KickstART Farmington’s reading series. Find him at @MitchNobis or mitchnobis.com.