Listening To Helen Caldicott On The Car Radio While Stalled In A Traffic Jam Downtown
I like to drive.
To use electricity, gas, fuel.
To step on a pedal and roar forward,
sixty miles an hour.
I like my car,
little steel womb,
from whose confines I view, if not rule,
the world. I like my radio,
which sings me songs and tells me stories
when I turn it on, and here’s this shrill
yelling, scolding, haranguing.
“My God!” she is saying.
“The trees are your lungs — can’t you see?
They look just like a pair of upside-down lungs.
The rivers and oceans are your arteries,
your blood. The ozone your skin.
Don’t you get it?
The earth is not your mother — it is yourself!”
She is screeching
through the unreal fog of traffic.
I inch forward slowly, sweating.
I could turn her off. With one flick of my wrist.
I am that powerful.
hearing her speak in a huge auditorium filled with people.
“How many of you,” she asked, in that steel sandpaper voice of hers,
“would die to save the earth?”
Some hands went up.
My husband, sitting beside me, raised his.
I could not.
He was crying.
Still I could not.