Chicago poet Mark Hammerschick’s “Permafrostedness Rising” is a tragic poem written from the perspective of the native people of Arctic Russia, detailing a landscape and a people altered by the devastating effects of climate change. It is a haunting work, ending in a chilling acceptance of environmental doom.
Permafrostedness Rising The air is better today not much soot my lungs are actually working the carbon counts leveled off in the lumpy Yakutsk as we salvaged our crossing on the Lena river yedoma deposits continue to degrade as the permafrost does go gentle into the good night gently urging methane to expand and since the snows have vanished we scavenge in this loam surface scraping no more mammoths to unearth only scraps vestiges of millennia layered frost memories when we still had water but we are Nenets from the Yamal peering into the edge of the world no more reindeer to herd resigned to our chums we are the ones we survived but at what price? The sun never sets heat and bone exposed deserts of denial on this boreal plain devoid of shadow and in the lingering light we begin to fade into the final inferno knowing that world ends in fire not ice
Mark writes poetry and fiction. He holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a BS and MBA. He began writing in grade school and has contributed a number of poems to literary journals over the years and has been published sporadically. He is a lifelong resident of the Chicago area and currently lives in a northern suburb near the shore of Lake Michigan. His current work will be appearing in: Calliope, Former People Journal, Sincerely Magazine, Mignolo Arts, Blue Lake Review, Naugatuck River Review, East on Central, Grey Sparrow Journal, Griffel, Voices Magazine, Wood Cat Review and The Rockvale Review.