Are we the only ones who care,
the only ones who can remember the Earth beneath our feet,
the soil that sticks to the bottom of our sneakers,
Are we the only ones who drive between the valleys of Steinbeck’s dream
and can remember the flower-traced, raging river Salinas Valley
under the paved highway,
and is the Earth the only thing that we can’t find
in the stacks of the library of the interwebbed machines,
and the cells stacked inside our head,
and why is it that every movie’s greatest scene
is some grandiose view of natural wonder,
zoomed out on a mythical train flying across the mire,
the match cut of a bone in the sky of an African desert,
and that we absorb like toothpaste the importance of everything
around us
but you can only stare at the toothbrush and wonder at it disintegrating in your hands except we are on the edge of a waterfall hanging, like every tragic hero, from a weakening twig, and as others yell about taking a knee at the national anthem or buying pieces of our planet swamped in ice, is it only us who can see how far we have to fall,
and comfortably you watch your phones in the dark like you can ignore hurricanes

like you can ignore fire falling from the sky,
and are we stuck, we who will inherit your debt to the Earth, selling off parts of our lifeline at your estate sale,
and for what price will we sell our homes to save our lives
for what price can we let go of water

you can’t teach life and death in school
you can teach the Greenhouse Effect, the human cause, you can teach Science, the Ozone Layer,
but you can’t teach us life and death
you can’t teach us for the end of the world


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