By Frank Mataska

Volume 24, Number 2, Don’t Be Evil

Please also check out our Poetry collection, including old and new poems by S. Rupsha Mitra, Deanna MacNeil, and artwork by Sam Davies.

There’s tar on our hands,
asphalt, pitch,
that carbon-black earth stick
only oil can soften,
then soap.

It came from below,
mined from limestones and sandstones,
the tombstones of ancient life,
hot-pressed by time
to crude and to coal,
remains of the long-dead,
extinction’s memorial.

Some still deny
the fumes and dioxides,
the asthma and cancer and plastic and heat,
but our planet is screaming
in storms and in fires.
Its voice is like gravel,

So let’s ask the artist,
the monk, and the child:
Continue the dig?
Raid the crypt?
Burn the pyres?
Shall we set down our own
fossil line in the sand?

Before lead, before slate,
before chisels and chalk,
rocks told our stories in etchings and bone.
“You were not the first to walk here,” they say,
“and you do not walk alone.”

Other articles in the Autumn 2021 issue are not yet released online. Please subscribe or purchase for full access.