The Year the Sky Turned Orange by Valerie Speedwell


“The Year the Sky Turned Orange” by Valerie Speedwell


it was the year the sky turned orange
the Great Die Off, 12 billion trees ablaze
the year            rivers and lakes dried up
and catastrophe wasn’t big enough a word
to describe what was happening
when the freshly dead piled up
faster than could be buried or burned
and the word rapture had no joy in it, only pestilence
it was the year of vanished streets
when everyone felt shaken
like a blizzard inside a snow globe
dazzled and cold, flying
round and round            gasping
at a world turned upside down
even as the Hand that shook us
delighted in the melee
it was the year the weather,
mere weather, an abstract thought!
spoke in the dark italics of disaster
and we wept and prayed and banged pots
until the wind shapeshifted            and
we lost sight of the problem in front of us
so went back to dividing the world
subtracting love
multiplying by greed
solving for never enough
we were so stupid
we should have been solving for sky
we should have been solving for honeybee
we should have been solving for bird



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Valerie Speedwell’s Artist Statement: Valerie Speedwell grew up in New York and now lives and writes in San Francisco. She’s currently working on a novel called Potluck: Recipes for Love, Passion, and Rebellion.

Author: A Room of Her Own

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