The Work

stonesClimate change sits in my gut like stones
in the pockets of my clothes
pulling me under water
after I have jumped in.

I must deliberately work to remove each stone, examine it, determine its weight.

Climate change is like a shadow
constantly following me–
sometimes revealed by a burst of sun–
lengthening and growing as time moves forward.

Climate change sits on my shoulders
as a burden to carry.
I feel the burden lighten
with good people,
in green spaces,
hearing the crunch of snow beneath my feet,
with the touch of my children,
the embrace of my spouse,
with the marching of many feet, and
through the voices of passionate leaders.

Climate hope feels like poetry after insurrection.

I don’t know if I can say what climate justice feels like in a white body, but I
see its promise in the faces of Black, Brown, and Indigenous leaders
their power rising from the reflection pool of our Nations’ Capitol.
I see it in years of chants and marching feet and science and truth put to words
written on stiff paper in leather bound folders that can take flight.

I feel myself surfacing
many hands reaching under water to remove the stones
and pull me up.

Kristen Iverson Poppleton, Age 45
St. Paul, MN
Climate Change Professional, Winter Enthusiast, Mother

This poem was published in Eyewitness: Minnesota Voices on Climate Change.

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