In Which Woolly Mammoths Save the World, Starting with Siberia, Because Permafrost is Melt and Carbon is Release | wisconsinacademy.org
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In Which Woolly Mammoths Save the World, Starting with Siberia, Because Permafrost is Melt and Carbon is Release

Honorable Mention – 2021 Poetry Contest

First, find the reliquary:
Collect the bones of the mammoth,
regurgitated onto the shore
by the agitate cycle of thawing permafrost,
rinse clean by the frigid lake’s lapping,
swelled in a jumble of reeds
on the pebbled shore.

Second, bioethics and cloning:
Something, something DNA,
scientists, test tubes, maybe
a centrifuge and probably an elephant.
Wait ten years. A mammoth is not
a velociraptor, so don’t worry
about any of that.

Third, intermodal transit:
Carefully place brand-new,
sedated mammoths into canvas slings
and hoist them high enough
so their fur-fringed foot pads
don’t drag along the tree line
and bring the helicopter down.

Fourth, implied consent:
Wake them gently with caresses
as they lie on the tundra overgrown with saplings
that hoard particles of heat like gold;
coax them onto the spongy ground
barely able to contain their weight.
Consider giant snowshoes to diffuse
their ungainly mass?

Fifth, labor:
After a good long drink at the lake
through supple bristled trunks, when they peer out
coquettishly from eyes curtained by long lashes against the snow;
show them how to trample the trees, strip the leaves,
leave the tundra bare, cooling the earth’s
fevered brow.

Sixth, pray:
Though it be zaprescheno, pray.

 

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Jill Madden Melchoir lives, works, and writes just north of Green Bay. By day, she’s an attorney in an online legal publishing company, which supports her biking and photography habits. She has three kids and spends as much time as possible on the Menominee River and Lake Michigan.

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