Plunging into light, the day begins with sweat.
Chopping wood, digging earth, hauling compost.
Wheelbarrow overflows with wood chips raked between vegetable beds.
I plant veggie starts and seeds, marigolds and lobelia.
Rest in the garden, daffodils’ promising yellows touch my head.
In the distance, tractors eat soil.
Chain saws murder ancient redwoods,
now ghosts thinner than air or shadows.
Meadows stripped of miner’s lettuce and dandelions, mustard and radish flowers.
Streams, creeks, dry as bones.
Lakes, parched earth.
Aquifers drained faster than nature can fill them.
No water in wells.
Animals disappear like ancient people.
At night, I fill two large bowls with water.
Every day it’s gone.
Men and women harvest grapes at 3 a.m. under spotlights bright as moons.
Generators shatter night’s quiet.
Workers prune branches during day in 90 degree heat.
Hands calloused burned earth, cheeks red rashes.
Pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides in aquifers.
Poison spreads throughout neighborhoods.
Cancer, lupus, M.S., Parkinsons, failed hearts.
Toxins in creeks, streams, rivers eat our dreams.
Land swallowed by money, power, deceit.
Cars flood coast roads, block ocean views.
Tasting rooms on the coast, in hills, on rural roads.
Everywhere wine glasses crack, daggers in earth’s heart.
Pamela Stone Singer, May 2021