Salad — photograph by the author

At Carlos’s, model thin with her perrito tucked under one arm,
she leans over the tray and gives the avocados a familiar squeeze, the sign says no tocar, the little dog grins.
High heels staccato she moves on,
strawberries for Valentines Day.
She tries one and smiles, red-lipped and flushed
with a dream of summer wine in crystal and waves against the shore.
She stalks to the counter, sustainably righteous, cloth bag in hand.

We are a chain, linked from beginning to end.
From the start to finish, an arc of supply and demand.
And yet, there is so much we fail to see.
Berries ripening in plastic tunnels
and acres bedded down in glittering row covers.
Calm and orderly rows of vegetables,
belie the violent scenes of chemical warfare and ethnic cleansing,
The silence of our summer afternoons,
echos with the screams of slaughtered insects.
Juicy steaks from feedlot cattle,
The salmon in your sushi,
farm raised sounds so friendly,
until you know it’s laced with antibiotics and steroids.
We see contented cattle on the range not carcasses strung on hooks.

Today, we stand on an event horizon
a moment between all that was and all that might yet be.

I wonder, What would it take,
what is the scale?
What would it mean to lead the way?
We hear facts but turn away from the story they tell.

Baby sea turtles know beyond knowing,
as they crawl from the sand,
to head for the light.

Do we have the sense they were born with?

Do we know the color of hope?

David Wallace-Wells

Writer, walker, poet, educator. Commercial fisherman, builder, donut maker, organic grower. Boston, U. City, Maine, South Africa, Madrid.

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