by Bobbie Morgan, Bainbridge Island

Warming weather wraps my face, summer drought persists too long.
I hike where glaciers creep backwards,
listen for the pika’s desperate chirp.
The silence of his coming extinction lingers over the talus fields.

Dark numbers inundate me, infest me and sting,
swirling inside and out, fact by unrelenting fact:
401 parts per million CO2 , 150 cubic kilometers of ice lost,
30% increase in ocean acidification.
Legacy of inaction will last for millennia.

Charged neurons ignite my primitive brain now,
in defense of other, blood-bonded numbers:
four children, two grandchildren,
whose futures collide with this cascading math,
math that falls from the skies, storms the ground and the seas.

I inhale slowly and wonder if there is an algorithm
to bend the arc of civilization just enough,
taking us through this narrow fissure of possibility.
I exhale, push the weight of despair aside for a moment, ask myself,
can we unleash beautiful fractals of empathy,
and solve the puzzle before us, with the shimmering power of will?

Photograph by Elisabeth Robson, Bainbridge Island