October 22, 2021


By Deanna MacNeil

Art by Stutterhug.

Uncertainty anchors our fear of change,
the sudden awareness of unforeseen circumstances.
We have seen the circumstances.
We have survived them
but many haven’t.
Now we are here again. Again.
The weariness of again has settled.
The adrenaline of new has faded.
This weariness comes with familiarity,
a blanket of new normal, weighted
not for comfort but for exhaustion.

Grief drips from every anniversary.
Each day forward now, another year has passed.
Forward, we’re told to hurry despite ourselves,
back to work and back to consuming.
Hurry into a future where the new normal weighs as much as the old, if not more.
As if we could rush out of an ocean
before the next wave breaks
arduous, slow-motion, imminent.
Undeniably, time crashes into us
while we fight the undertow
and resurface, dripping.

A planet, exhaustedly gaslit,
determined to believe there is no more to lose.
We can do better than this
but will we?
We’ve seen the benefit of slowing, however briefly.

A rest dearly needed
for the Earth as much as for the life on it.
Instead we’re told each new wave is inevitable
for the sake of the economy, for the sake of the status quo.
As inevitable as the warming. As inevitable as the lives lost.

There is a dread in continuing this trudge
through not-so-quicksand
inevitably immobile, scared and so
so tired.
After all, the risk of quicksand is not the sand,
but being stuck,
prevented from escaping the inevitable returning tide.
Is another year around the sun too fast or like clockwork?
If you have ever watched the tide, you would know
it’s both.

Deanna MacNeil is a medical writer based in Montreal, Canada. They received their PhD in 2020 from McGill University. Deanna is a budding science communicator and poet, and a member of the Massive Science Consortium.