The man is standing on the windy podium,
his hair lifting like an orange halo.
I won’t say his name because all day
my son has chanted it repeatedly
the way he chants Minecraft! or McDonalds!
He’s five, and marinated in TV.
The man’s mouth is moving. Whatever
he’s saying, I’m hearing him deny
the weather – the forest fires, the deep
Midwest freeze, an iceberg twice the size
of NYC snapping off Antarctica.
No use in sending him the letter
I’ve been writing in my head
about the floods coming closer,
the heat last summer which made us twist
like worms under glass. No air. Too hot
to think. We spent half of August
on the high bleachers of the ice-rink.
Now recycling is a form of prayer.
I’m watching his mouth move. The face
with its perennial tan, the pink mouth
sucking in air. When he denies,
he’s really saying, after I’m gone
there’ll be no here, no there.
I’ve been worrying at the weather
for weeks when it should have been
years. The hot spell in February.
I pull on a summer dress, thinking
if the weather girl is happy what’s
the harm? Inside, a shrill alarm
keeps going off. When my son asks
will the earth last until infinity, I tell him no.
He wants to know why. I’m sorting plastics
while he marches the lounge chanting
infinity infinity! and a winter fly
buzzes madly at our balcony door.
Hannah Lowe’s most recent chapbook is The Neighbourhood (Outspoken Press, 2019). Her third full collection, The Kids, is due out in 2021 with Bloodaxe. She teaches Creative Writing at Brunel University.