Kate Schapira

12/9

                                                             Stayed
with 2 climatologists and they walked me through
multiple scenarios. All very stark. I won’t
describe for you because I worry what
you’ll do if I do. Jenna said it seems like you,
letter, should just kill yourself and I said
that seemed like a copout, like oh
it’s easier to imagine being dead than to imagine
changing. We were at the antiques mall
lifting old things and putting them down
till we ran out of steam. We can always imagine
driving into a powdery sunset, low flare
like a relic we notice without information.
Every tiny darkening will be a letter.
Every hint of rot will be a letter.
Is a letter now, age spot drawn on by hand.
In my dream someone was saying how much
they love trees marked with a rot that looks
like the mark of fire and I knew it was a dream
because it wasn’t me: I don’t feel guilty
about not wanting to manage the night.

12/10

                                                             Stayed
with 2 climatologists and they walked me through
multiple scenarios. All very stark. I won’t
describe for you. Maybe I’ll just explain it in
a really blank way: how thing used to mean
meeting and how that reminds me that people
in a song called a strike meeting and I didn’t
know what that was and still don’t know why it’s
called a strike, is it like a strike at the root
of a plant you don’t want in your life,
nightshade camped in the gutter ruining
not everything, but the gutter: the thing
I like about that is
it sets you up as a garden with self-interest
and its pleasant cells only some of the things
in it, but not the whole thing—anyway only
one other person came to the meeting
and the nightshade tapped its root deep down
and I felt what it felt, not guilt,
but the name of the night.

12/12

                                                             Stayed
with 2 climatologists and they walked me through
multiple scenarios. All very stark. I won’t
describe for you, because I can’t without calling
myself the kind of names you’re not supposed to
put in the world. It’s like I have to
be vicious and I can’t to you, but to myself—
it’s like that, but it’s not that.
I’m vicious to you all the time in the course
of my lawful occasions, my meetings and partings,
my perfectly loving and generous actions in the short
distance that still can’t be wholesome
to you, a word that to hear
brings an aching for you to stitch yourself up
around my hands, letter by letter and law
by law I didn’t make but only find,
the laws that make you up and might let you
shake me off and move on. If you do, please
don’t feel guilty about not wanting to manage the night.

12/13

                                                             Stayed
with 2 climatologists and they walked me through
multiple scenarios. All very stark. I won’t
describe for you. I don’t want coffee but it’s one
of my chores so I make it and try to remember that later
I’ll be writing to ask you: what would your life be like
if it was a quarter better? How about a
quarter worse? How would you ask that
to someone whose math was not that great? I want
our math to split for you. I want to sag it out of how
we are into a catenary. Coffee
tastes how I’d expect it to: full of injury.
My stack of things to do for the current order
is so high, my list so long. In the current
dragging other orders under first, and further,
I don’t feel guilty about not wanting to
manage the night.

Kate Schapira lives in Providence, RI, where she writes, teaches, co-runs the Publicly Complex reading series, and offers Climate Anxiety Counseling. Her sixth book of poems, FILL: A Collection, a collaboration with Erika Howsare, is out with Trembling Pillow Press. Her prose has appeared in The Toast, the Rumpus, Catapult, and as a chapbook with Essay Press, Time to Be Something Other Than Human.