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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 1: January 2020
Prose Poem: 265 words
Climate Crisis
By Paul-Victor Winters

Untitled (2019)


There was a bellow from the sky (or perhaps the eaves and rafters) and it said, Thou shalt not cage children. And there were those among us who laughed it off. Love thy neighbor, said the wind (which smelled of stale urine and illness), Love thy neighbor and every thiney thine thing. Thou art they. And a voice from the dirt beneath us said, Seek out justice where it needs to be sought. Thou shalt do the thing that needs thy-thou-thine doing. But there was a talent show on television, a sale on cosmetics, ads for things made cheaply and marketed well. The wind shook and said, Hey, you guys. But there was something covetable for sale online and we hoped for free, fast delivery. We were downloading apps and shaking fists at those poorer than us. Phantoms scudded back and forth, laden with the scent of dark money on their breath. We ignored the voice from the sky. You know—gelato and sitcoms, monster trucks and yoga classes, Instagram and Pornhub. Verily I say unto you, said the wind (or perhaps the sills), ye do the harm to one, ye do the same to the world. We celebrated Labor Day, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day. You bring me to harm, the soil cried, but there were fireworks and barbeques, summer weddings, and cable shows about summer weddings. And every thing-thine-thingy-thing we did unto one, we did into perpetuity, spittle in the corners of our mouths, shit on the soles of our shoes, which had been made by small, impoverished, enervate fingers, far away.

Paul-Victor Winters
Issue 1, January 2020

is a public school teacher, occasional adjunct professor, and writer living in southern New Jersey. He works for Murphy Writing of Stockton University and for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s Poetry Program. Poems appear in anthologies from Jane Street Press, Serving House Books, and others, and in numerous journals, including KYSO Flash and Eyedrum Periodically.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Blue, climate-crisis haibun in KYSO Flash (Issue 5, Spring 2016)

Untitled (Future), lineated poem in KYSO Flash (Issue 5)

Yellow, prose poem in KYSO Flash (Issue 5)

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