The valley was on fire
When you asked me how to save the world
And I told you I didn’t know.
We sat in the darkness
And drank whiskey on a mountain, nowhere,
Tracing numbers in the stars and slipping on stones
That have each seen more than god.
The planet’s going to die, you know,
It’s happening by degrees.
It seemed at first that we saw different skies:
You sifting through your silver futures,
And I stuck in the space between,
Reciting elegies I collected for posterity,
The ones I memorized in rental cars and shadowed corners
And shared with only you.
Greenland is disappearing,
It’s only a matter of time.
We fell asleep in soft-peaked down and woke up
To the bitter taste of thoughts all thought before,
Lips stained with earnestness turned saccharine,
And untangled ourselves
As I watched you dust the mountains off your sweater,
And restore to silence those secrets which
We were always meant to keep.
And how silly! To measure ourselves in Universal terms.
But the thing is I don’t care—
I myself am not so skilled at amnesia
And may never be. I still see smoke
In the pleading of your expression,
And in the pleating around your eyes.
Tell me, what do you remember—
The chill that descended with the Gloaming,
A sepia curtain drawn across the russet peaks;
Headlights in the distance waning;
The brush that curled like withered questions about your feet?
Everything is going to shit,
I don’t know what I can do.
Idaho keeps burning,
It might be ash before we’re old.
These stars presided over Caesar—
Wouldn’t it be easier
To just bake tawny bread?
What I’m trying to say is that I’m scared of trying too,
But I fear I have more faith in you
To fix carbon or broken genes,
And I need to know in advance that you’ll forgive me
Because soon the Earth will explode,
And the streets will flood with fire,
And I’ll still be on a hill somewhere
Clutching articles for you to read.
Or maybe just until the bottle empties, and the sun rises,
And the smoke clears.
Spencer Bokat-Lindell is singing and traveling with the Whiffenpoofs this year. If he manages to find free Wi-Fi, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.