My Eco-Anxiety and Solastalgia Have It Out

Brittney Corrigan
| poetry


If the ocean rises over me while I sleep.

Before the whaling ship and garbage barge.


If the volcano I can see from the supermarket erupts.

Where the tree line ends, the caldera and the lake.


If Cascadia fractures and falls into the sea.

Fir and spring water. Understory. Crown of leaves.


If The Big One hits and I can’t get to my children.

Open spaces. What’s a smokestack? A crane is a bird.


If hurricanes flatten and flood places I’ve not yet been.

Manatees in the mangroves, no ship-stricken skin.


If the sea ice melts and the polar bears float away.

A blue iceberg is the compression of pure snow.


If there are no more bees.

Fields of wildflowers. Honey in the mouths of bears.


If the plants and animals all die.

Dogs are descended from gray wolves. Wild blueberries on a hill.


If it’s just so hot. If it’s just so cold.

Skinny-dipping in the quarry. Snowball fights until dusk.


If wildfires never stop burning.

Aspen leaves in autumn. Sagebrush keeps company with rabbits and elk.


If the sky turns red.

Sunrises in the desert. Sunsets on the coast.


If scientists plead into a void.

When I stand beneath the stars and weep.

Brittney Corrigan is the author of the poetry collections Daughters, Breaking, Navigation, and 40 Weeks. Her newest collection, Solastalgia, a collection of poems about climate change, extinction, and the Anthropocene Age, is forthcoming from JackLeg Press in 2022.

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