On the President’s Announcement of our Hashtag

by John Linstrom

The President announced we need to keep
some carbon in the ground; he sounded sure,

his raised and lowered index finger maybe
mimicking an oil rig I’ve seen

on my computer screen. I caught his talk
distilled at first, a single image meme,

hashtagged to my cell phone’s glowing face,
the floating phantom of a president

in light above this tiny glowing slab.
Such phones are made of matter. I forget

sometimes the way the world is swept for me,
the oil that forms the plastic, metals heaved

from mines, and heavy metals concentrated
to this short-term task. I hold it here—

the screen dims—it reminds me of the black
obsidian we’d often find in flakes

along the old ravine. We pretended
that was magic, too, but we really knew

it made the body of the place we played,
the mud’s black fingernails, skeletal

outcropped source of grounded mystic wonder.
That stone had been there for millennia.

Then we’d each lift a rock and toss it up
into the clicking branches, watch it fall

gleaming along a trail the trees had altered,
and catch it in our shirt-sleeve-guarded hands.

Later, we’d return the stones to the mud.
The soul of Earth is black like that, I think,

obsidian and coal and oil, the bridges
from molten core to surface, dinosaurs

to us. We listen to our President
on magic flakes we’ve swept from earth’s ravines.

The flakes can prophesy to how we’ve made
an end to all we’ll ever dream to make—

a human listening to the soil’s voice
might speak of moderation, or of love.


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