“Falsified Reality 12/19/2019” by Micah Zevin

Reading by the author

inspired by “Peaceful Transition” by Tony Hoagland

The wind blows furiously through my apartment hallway
in the cold of December, moaning in agony, rattling our door open
and closed again and again.

The New York Times says “as sea levels rise, so do ghost forests.”
Salt water is killing off woodlands along the Mid-Atlantic coast
far from the sea.

Wildfires on the west coast chase people and dogs from their homes
not just celebrities like LeBron. The book I am reading is “The Death
of Virgil” by Herman Broch.

It says, Virgil, in his last hours, is between birth, rebirth and on the
cusp of death as is history, and he realizes he may have falsified
reality while attempting to create beauty.

It is one thing to dream of Dodo birds in Times Square,
of George Washington Bridge eroding its foundation into a
pile of rubble.

It is another to open your doors to wild fires.
I am hoping humans do more than apply balm
to their wounds, the earth’s.

That the trees will not be bare and sing once more, not overcome
with melancholy. I’m hoping not just the vultures and falcons
return to devour what is left, that all life swiftly reemerges.

Let it be like a revelation that we never ever noticed. We
were asleep before; and now that we are permanently awake, the
fish, the great mammals of the ocean can never forget us even if they
never knew who we really were, as our plastic lines their homes
and stomachs.

Let the guinea pigs return to nature, all the domesticated
grab bags of pets repopulate the singed and drowned landscape
as the remaining children mutate and adapt or

It is important that we perspire but not every second
and not until death.
It’s a thin veil of negligence we must try to reverse
and overcome.

Today, out of the east coast, the cold wind becomes a squall
of snow.
I lean out my window to glory in it.

The car alarms go off, the babies and cats cry and shriek,
and the dogs bark at each other and their masters.
I see the buses with commuters are packed
and the sidewalks are cracked and in need of repaving.

I see the sparrow has found a way to build a nest
underneath an air conditioner and is still dancing…

Micah Zevin is a librarian poet living in Jackson Heights, Queens, NY. He has published articles and poems at The OtterNewtown LiteraryPoetry and PoliticsReality BeachJokes ReviewPOST(Blank)The American Journal of PoetryThe Tower JournalFive:2:One, the What Rough Beast Series at Indolent Books, Heavy Feather Review, Big Other, The Bowery Gothic, Brooklyn Vol. 1., The Poets of Queens Anthology, Narrative Northeast, and LitHub. His first book of poems, Metal, Heavy, was published December 2020 from Olena Jennings and Poets of Queens Press. He created/curates an open mic/poetry prompt workshop called The Risk of Discovery Reading Series at Blue Cups in Woodside, Queens, NY and currently, virtually. 

Image: “The Hand of the Weeping (Detail)” by George Weinisch

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