We who overtrust abbreviation. Who drive the long way,
carve our signature in the ozone to see a favorite sight,
emissions peeling back the barrier keeping us
from the love letters spotting the night sky: Dear E.
Dear P. Dear a god peering down on us with its burning eye.
There are jobs in solar but no romance there.
Wind power, a lesser siren. Howls, gets the job done
but eulogies for bats struck down by turbines
are drowned out by cell towers, passing cars
that lull us, their sound of waves, their gravelly crests
and steel-bellied slaps, we sleep and in sleep we dream
and in dreams we river, endless and nowhere all at once.
Report on the car radio: Commercial:
We require 1.7 Earths to maintain NASCAR pre-season
this level of resource utilization tickets now available
Hydroelectric, geothermal, photovoltaic. Amid love
for the succinct, the whole thud of a syllable
rounded, it’s hard to overestimate our aversion to eyesore
or underestimate the bolus of “We.” There’s an expectation
of romance, a nice dinner, roses on the table that light themselves
come dusk. Timelines framing the unspoken asks of each other.
We are happy on the scenic route, saying look: the ready bowl
of vowel, fireworks before the real fireworks, the nuclear
kind: cookware chattering in cabinets while the world
as trended into consensus burns its romantic heart
for all to see, obliterating cities out of love of life.
The cameras, the Twittersphere, the hostile governments all looking
for a human face to repurpose catastrophe, an efficiency
of reporting that allows assumption—that perfect machine—to run,
oiled of “of course,” spinning one night into another day, gears
turning belts that yank the shades down, the sun up, if that’s the sun.
You never see gas at the pump. Just a small dispenser, alone
on the pavement, and the inch of movement on your dashboard needle
that unrolls a country-long highway where there’s no one
you’re responsible for. The pavement sucking and popping like tar.
What’s the sound of one planet calling out to another,
any other, trying to bring the moon crashing into its breast?
I am made to feel guilty for every second taken from the “we,”
held for myself. Introextrovert, how can I account for the
movement of energy to or from myself? Justify myself
in the greater ecosystem, quantify, how
can I reconcile the need for light with the desire
to exist as a shape in the darkness I will never describe.
Brandon Amico is the author of Disappearing, Inc. (Gold Wake Press, 2019). He is a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow, the recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council Regional Artist Grant, and the winner of Southern Humanities Review’s Hoepfner Literary Award for Poetry. His poems have appeared in The Adroit Journal, Blackbird, The Cincinnati Review, Kenyon Review, New Ohio Review, and Verse Daily, among other publications.