seven years

Seven years
Say the elders
The indigenous sages

Seven years
Is the time needed
To turn things around
Before all is lost

I pick my way
Through the rubbished streets
See refugees wrapped in foil
Like boiled sweets
Humans scurrying like ants
On bathroom tiles
From a drone’s eye view

Seven years
Before the Biblical floods
From melted icecaps
Drown our towns
And forest fires become our
Funeral pyre
And an island of plastic fish
Is all that’s left
To feed us

Seven years
Until my daughter is sixteen
On the verge of womanhood
Instead of parties and boyfriends
The fear in her tears will say
“Mummy, why didn’t you
Do something
Seven years ago?”
My womb is frozen
Petrified. I stand
Stone-like in front of
The tablets handed to me
Through a screen

Seven years
For a wave of love
To melt the razor wire
That divides borders
That splits tribes
That has carved up
This wild earth
Into patchworks
Of monocultured
Pesticide-fertilised
Exhausted soil

Seven years
For this terror
To alchemise into
Can do not can’t
Action not apathy
Connection not a long drawn-out
Suicide as we step
One by one
Off the cliff of greed
Into the void of
Extinction

Seven years.
I am scared.
Hold my hand
So I can hold
My daughter’s
Without shaking
She feels my terror
I don’t have to speak it
It’s in my eyes
When she says
“We don’t talk about
Climate change
At school.”

Seven years
To tune my eyes
Into the wonder of
Sparrows, the delight
Of a snow-angel
The crinkle of a wrinkled eye
In someone who has seen
The worst of life
And yet smiles
To melt the bone-fear
With love

Seven years
Two thousand five hundred and fifty-five days
Sixty one thousand three hundred and twenty hours
Three million, six hundred and seventy nine thousand, two hundred minutes
Two hundred and twenty million, seven hundred and fifty two thousand seconds

Make every one count

© xmab 06.iii.18