I sense the evidence everywhere: my dad afloat
in his dementia; oceans rising; ice melting,
cracking on stone. Naturally drawn to landscapes –
marsh, desert, rivers, sky – my husband and I stream
a documentary by a filmmaker who bungeed a camera
to an Arctic outcrop where it gazed, unblinking,
at a glacier as it receded, reverted to slag (eons of ice
and rock rasped to gravel within a matter of weeks).
We listen to the bark of calved bergs as they slide
into the sea. We sense the heart-thump of a polar bear
afloat on a ten-foot floe and remember the foot-thump
of another at the zoo as he swam back and forth slamming
his paws against the glass wall of his cage until he died –
like a mangy old rug in a men’s club, spread under the feet
of a snowy-maned member, the smoke of a cigar islanding
his head, his graveled voice declaiming the demise
of the great auk while checking if buffalo was still on the menu.
The next day, at a ladies’ lunch, iles flottantes are wobbled out
on frosted plates. A woman flashes a giant solitaire, laughs.
Global warming, she barks; You must be demented!
Where’s the evidence of that? Back home there’s a message
from my sister: Dad played ‘How Deep is the Ocean’ today,
but he couldn’t remember the words. He has played and sung
hundreds of songs for us, for eons it seems. How long
will it be before the last one slides into the sea?