The World In Our Hands
Remember when the weatherman used chalk,
and those satellite shots came once every twelve hours?
We used to warm our hands over television sets.
The world was full of potential –
Yes, we worried about a Cold War; the possibility
of nuclear winter . . . Now we worry about winter,
in general, and whether the icecaps are going the way
of the dinosaurs – and whether we will too –
My mother wanted me to be a doctor, or a lawyer
I wanted to draw isobars and isotherms, high & low
pressure cells, and occluded fronts – I wanted
to be The Weatherman like nobody’s business . . .
Then I forgot about the weather and did what all good
sons must do; I blew off law school and became
an urban planner . . . Though, I’ll always remember that frosted
glass globe my parents gave me. It was electric,
internally lit, and calibrated to the earth’s rotation –
It even tracked the sun’s path twenty-four-seven
until the bulb blew –
Now I have the standard issue: a cardboard orb
I bought for my daughters when they were in
grade school; it’s shellacked with countries whose
names have changed. It doesn’t get much use –
Some days, when our country’s under siege
and our leaders are doing their best to negotiate
the end of the world, I take the world out of the closet
and dust it off; then I give it
a good hard spin!
Published in The New Verse News, and appears in Some Weather
(Plain View Press, 2008). View Scot Siegel reading this poem on YouTube.