Featured Poetry

Mark Hammerschick – Permafrostedness Rising

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 Hammerschick

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.

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