Not the green-grey sludge
snaking to the river’s edge.
Not the sun’s overdone orb
baking the snake to a dry bed of dust.
Not the hands of a man cracking open
stones in a barren bed of dirt
beside a field void of crops,
or trees, or snakes, or
soul. Not the frickin’ fracking
or the culture-draining pipe.
And the morning and the evening
of the umpteenth billionth year…
And it was not good, not not good,
not not not not not not not not not not not not not
Composite photograph by Karen Elias (USA), Contemporary. Permission given by the artist. Both the poem and photograph were previously published in Cold Mountain Review.
Poem: Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 13 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); Local News from Someplace Else; Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award), Begin with a Question (Paraclete), and Heart Speaks, Is Spoken For (Shanti Arts), an ekphrastic collaboration with photographer Karen Elias—the prose collection What She Was Saying (Fomite); 4 children’s/YA books—including Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Reading Poems with Insider Exercises (Finalist International Book Awards), and I’m Feeling Blue, Too! (a 2021 NCTE Notable Poetry Book)— Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry (assistant editor). See www.marjoriemaddox.com
Photograph: Dr. Karen Elias taught college English for 40 years and is now an artist/activist, using photography to record the fragility of the natural world and raise awareness about climate change. Her work is in private collections, has been exhibited in several galleries, and has won numerous awards. She is a board member of the Clinton County Arts Council where she serves as membership chair and curator of the annual juried photography exhibit.