Anthropocene

Nesting, the turtle seems to be crying even though she is simply
secreting her salt. Her dozens bud limbs inside amniotic pillows as she leaves every
egg
in a cup of sand the size of her body, shaped like a tilting teardrop — and both cryings
are mentioned by scientists. My niece Eve is startle-eyed when you feed
her
avocado and when you feed her sweet potato. She lives mouth first: she would eat
the sidewalk and piano, the symmetrical petals of the Bradford pear, as if she could learn
which
parts of the world are made and how, and yesterday she put her mouth on the image of
her own face in the mirror. Larkin says what will survive of us is love, but the scientists
say
that the end of the decay-chain is lead and uranium and after that, plastics. Just now
the zooplankton are swallowing micro pearls of plastic and the sea is aflame with waste
caught
in the moon’s light. Here is the darkening hour and here, the shore, as she droplets
her eggs, bright as ping pong balls, into the sand.
She can’t
find the spot. The beach is saltined with lights, neoned with spectacular
globes of light, a dozen moons instead of the one
moon.
Still, she lets them go and one month later, tiny turtles hatch. They seem groggy,
carrying their houses of bone and cartilage to the ocean, scrambling toward the horizon
alongside
the earth’s magnetic field. Less than one percent of the hatchlings make it past
the seagulls and crabs, so Noah spent a summer dashing them to the water. But my
poem
is not about the moment when a bird dove and bore
into the underflesh and into Noah’s memory. My poem is about how we are gathered
around Eve
in the kitchen as she eats a fruit she has never tried before and each newness
in the world stops the world’s ending in its tracks.

 

 

 

 

 

Nomi Stone’s second collection of poems, Kill Class is forthcoming from Tupelo Press in 2018. She is also the author of the poetry collection Stranger’s Notebook (TriQuarterly, 2008), a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Anthropology at Princeton University, and an MFA Candidate in Poetry at Warren Wilson College. She has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University, and was a Creative Writing Fulbright Scholar in Tunisia. Poems appear or are forthcoming in The New Republic, The Best American Poetry 2016, The Best Emerging Poets 2014-15, Poetry Northwest, Sixth Finchdiode, and elsewhere. Kill Class is based on two years of fieldwork she conducted within war trainings in mock Middle Eastern villages erected by the US military across America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Issue #66 January 2017
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