Please, Allow Me to Apologize for My Entire Species

by Emily Eddins

Glacier resting under a dark sky

You could have gone on indefinitely
If it weren’t for us
All you seals, sea lions, walruses
Looking for the melted ice
You used to breed on, sleep on, nurse on
We took that
Consider yourself evicted
It won’t be coming back

Sorry we didn’t invite you to the
climate change mitigation conference
Sorry we forgot to do anything but hold a
climate change mitigation conference
at least back when it would have mattered

Sorry about that eagle
Who got his bill shot through
by a bullet
Somebody’s idea of fun
I visited him in Alaska
In a wildlife center
He spent the summer in a box
with bars
At least it was painted green
He wouldn’t look at me
Even though he was supposed to be
An ambassador

He was probably thinking about
How he used to soar up
To high rocks
Staring down at pink salmon
Throwing themselves up
Impossible streams
Their fins shredded and dangling
Battered and spent, they pushed on

I remember I saw one once
That had a penny-sized hole in its head
And still he swam
Carcasses everywhere
He pressed forward
What other choice did he have
The glaciers dripping, calving
Exploding like bombs
We watched all of it dying
the ice a deep cobalt
The color of something
Frozen and ancient

Part of me wishes
I could be like the seals
Floating on the last few pieces of ice
Unaware that it wouldn’t be coming back
Believing man was just a harmless creature
on a kayak
Stopping to take pictures
Struggling upstream
Like that salmon
With holes in our heads
Pressing forward
What other choice do we have now
Funny while we were dying
It all looked so alive

Category: Featured, Poetry