Warning From Nome – by Kit Zak

“Precarious Existence: Dall Sheep” by Carlos Monteagudo, Photograph

“We are living in an age of mass extinction, with corporations and their policies dooming the future of human, plant, and animal existence”


Warning From Nome
by Kit Zak
Even before the shaman’s words, we knew
gulls screeched warning
water sipping the shore
the full moon, our lone night light, swollen tides
Newtok’s first six huts poised to surrender before the others.

Even before the Anchorage experts, we knew
Permafrost melt killing birds and fish,
winter ice, barrier against flood, icebox for our food
lifeline” for seals and polar bears—vanishing
ancestors’ dreams rippling in our sleep.

Even before the tribal grapevine,
we marked the tide, knew it was coming.
Heard about our brother whales’ distress
Denali sheep and wolves starving
lakes drained and trees burning.

Even before the talk of moving, we knew
millions to resettle one hundred tribes
and time galloping, winter winds walloping, huts sinking—
we knew.

Previously published in Newversenews,4/19/2015


Kit Zak
Lewes, DE

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