an Aotearoa poetry journal | ISSN 2744-3248

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Earth the Red Planet

for Carl Sagan

Just ignore this poem.
It’s about climate change.
It’s not happening, anyway.

Ignore the conspiracists.
Ignore 5G, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg,
the anti-vaxxers, the pandemic deniers;
Area-51, Kennedy, Diana, QAnon.
They’re gaining airtime.

We are a fish ingesting a bellyful of microplastics.

Ignore the Amazon rainforest
that will have shrunk by fifty
football fields in the time you’ve
read this poem.

Ignore the children in Tuvalu
who walk to school in water
up to their knees.
Soon they will not know
what dry land is.

Ignore the landslides in Peru
& Guatemala & India & Nepal.
Ignore the buried villagers & farmers.
They will not speak again of this.

As a child I watched in wonder at
the replays of the moon landings.
Then I watched them dump a bag
of rubbish onto the moon’s surface.

Space is no longer filled with meteorites;
there’s also bits of space stations &
rockets & satellites spinning through our orbit.
Our junk has joined Einstein’s Relativity.

The ash from Gondwanaland
reached us 4000 kilometres away.
The skies turned orange; the sun became
a star from another galaxy. We took selfies.

They ignored Kepler & Copernicus;
Eratosthenes & Ptolemy. Forget them.
The Flat-Earthers are making a comeback.

We are sorry we ignored all this, Carl.
You said leave Mars alone.
We’re landing rovers
remotely there now.
We have plans.
Mars is our Plan B.

we’ve left
an imprint.