Climate Denial by Richard Parisio

Here’s what I know: heat ripples over asphalt
and the El train thunders. Lemon ices
numb the tongue and pucker
with cold-tart-sweet, and sidewalks
grate bare knees whenever
you go down — that’s Brooklyn summer.

That scent from hidden flower
constellations in the hedge — it sends
me back. A blackbird shimmers
like an LP record, whistles: just
connect the dots: “Indian” summer
makes the news. 120+ and thousands dead.

Says wise-guy winter: what in hell
do you know? Recall the frozen-over river?
Those old brown men whose daughters
fan them with palm leaves, dying in hospital
beds across the planet? Far from you as June
from January. Too far away to make you change your life.

Richard Parisio works as an interpretive naturalist in the Hudson Valley. He writes a nature column for the New Paltz Times and is NYS Coordinator for River of Words, a children’s watershed poetry program. Parisio’s The Owl Invites Your Silence won the 2014 Slapering Hol Press Poetry Chapbook Award.