In honor of Earth Day and National Poetry Month, here’s a change of pace, a poem about where we might find ourselves if the 24/7 news cycle shut down.
A snap of light, a blight of static,
and the dimming plasma screen stares back
at them dumbly in their darkened den.
Perhaps some small animal has crawled
into the basement and gnawed through the cable
to render them disconnected this early spring night.
TV, wifi, phone: all dead. How will they deal
with this deprivation, this break in their continuous
loop of news and commentary?
They sit for a moment in silence, worry about
the freshness of batteries in flashlights, the locations
of candles and where they might find
a book of matches.
She comments on the recent string
of unseasonable storms.
He reminds her of last week’s solar flares.
Together, they circumnavigate what they falsely call
unimaginables: the terrorist plots and hacker conspiracies,
the evolving world they struggle to ignore.
In the dark outside, the crickets rub
their legs together and maintain their trill.
From that prompt she recalls
a bit of country wisdom
rediscovered in an almanac,
a formula to determine the temperature outside.
They count and do the math in their heads:
chirps per 14 seconds plus 40—
75, 75, 76, 77.