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Poetry

Where We Are Now

The day after the election was called I went for a walk in the local forest. It was a cold day. Thick clouds had layered the sky since morning. But just before the sun went down it slipped beneath the gray and lit the trees in a beautiful, heatless glow.

Something about the whole autumn scene harmonized with how I was feeling after the election.

It was cathartic to see the world celebrate. But it was fleeting, too. This wasn’t a turning of history’s tide. It wasn’t a new spring.

If anything it was a small, needful inflection point in the same collective autumn we’re all still in. But maybe it could be a reminder that inflection is still possible. That we can—bit by bit—bend the arc of this country. And unbend deadly arc of climate change.

But only if we put in the work. Because it’s not gonna happen without us.

Where We Are Now

The last light finds the tops
of forest trees, making
oranges and golds at the end
of a short, gray day.
All the bigleaf maples have agreed
to drop their big leaves,
which rattle down through hemlock tangles
to the places they’ll dissolve.

This is not a beginning.

I used to think it was silly how
some people wore themselves out
with dances and rituals, beseeching
the spring to come back around.
Now I’ve seen enough to understand
that we are promised nothing.


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Image of the poem Where We Are Now by James A. Pearson