Pamela Uschuk

Hopeless as swatting lies out of the White House
or trying to put out an oil field fire with a cup of water
is this war against the grasshoppers, who,
when I walk through weeds or rattle
the leaves on a pepper plant, leap
by the thousands to remind me
that power isn’t always held by Goliaths
but by the numerous and persistent.
I’ve used up a quart of organic poison
the grasshoppers thrive on, sprayed them
uselessly with the hose, stomped
them into the deck, called them
wicked names they ignore
chewing mercilessly through perennials and broccoli,
sweet basil and jalepenos alike, shredding
even stringy giant white iris leaves
and stripping the raspberry to a single stem.
Monstrous gluttony, relentless destruction.
I suppose I could scream down
hatred from the sky on the idiot leaders
who voted against the Kyoto Accord, plead
with missing rain clouds
or throw up wailing hands and emigrate, but
I was born with that flawed gene
of never giving up. Try try try
, as my mother said. Still
armored grasshopper faces are set
with awful grins of devastation—
those harpies of a vengeful god with his history of boils
and wrath. What’s left
are ragged tomato plants
excreting their own foul scent
in this long season of wind
and sun, of wild fires and rainless nights,
thinning ozone and locust clouds
we continue to battle
as we do the plague of rhetoric
devouring the green of our lives.

Pam Uschuk is a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus and the author of five books of poems. Her most recent collection Crazy Love (Wings Press), won the 2010 American Book Award. Wild in the Plaza of Memory, a poetry collection is due out of Wings in April 2012. She was the John C. Hodges Visiting Writer at University of Tennessee, Knoxville spring semester 2011. Melissa Tuckey is the poetry editor for FPIF and a board member of Split This Rock.

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