Advice From A Live Oak

to the Owner of the Mercedes Floating Down the Street in Miami 
Listen, you there...step back from the edge of the precipice you’ve come upon with no warning (in your mind).
Here now, at your winter home in Florida, 
you stand on the crumbling asphalt
watch your Mercedes float by as if it was your yacht
.Nearby, as if in a dream, you hear someone saying words like 
aquifer, global warming, unsustainableBut you don’t understand any language not spoken in banks. 
You shout your mantraFix it! Fix it!
You shiver in the heat under the roof you constructed over the planet. 

This is how you got here:You looked at me through blinders and called me a tree. 
Then you named me:Live Oak.
I became a fact you could dismiss or use as it suited
When you cut me and my sap ran you did not recall the stickiness of your own blood. 
 So, I knew that our reunion would have to wait 
until we had no choice. 
Like now.

Before you were too busy.
You dug mines, drained swamps, 
smothered the soil with cement 
slashed the forests and fields 
forced water where it did not want to flow. 
Now you are surprised.
You order the seawalls to be rebuilt higher 
again and again,yet the waves roar at them and they succumb 
over and over.For comfort, you grab at your pockets for your rosary of coins. 

On  the news you see Coyotes leap over the walls of your mansion
Panthers roam the yard
Black bears rummage through your trash 
swim at their leisure in your Olympic-sized pools.
 your homes are hidden behind steel gates 
but the animals know these woods and marshes 
they have mapped the paths in their veins
feel the contours of the land in their hearts
 see through the dark
 know exactly what needs knowing upon the air. 

You reach into your vault of millions for your talisman of dollars 
and find a time bomb lodged in one corner. 
When this bomb is triggered by the last floods and the final fires 
even you 
will become brethren to the lowest insect, the stalk of grass. 

For the first time, you hear the alarms.Your senses open like a deer listening for the hunter’s next step. 
Listen, here was your next mistake
 You mowed when it was time to sow. 
Demolished what it was time to save. 
You understood how to ravage but not how to prune. 

Now is the time to listen.
to what speaks quietlyi n both of us: 
Live… live… live...

The Great Extinction

Even if you aren’t a believer
your feet have faith
in the earth
your lungs are believers 
in the air 
your thirst trusts
in water.

We are held,
with no effort of our own.

What other love gives so freely?
This is holiness
by those who once again
know not
what they do.

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