“My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.”
-David S. Buckel
We are drawn to the self-immolation, flames
of martyrdom—righteous or tragic or both—
semantics of one’s own chemical dependence.
There is a dark patch of grass where he last sat,
injustice weighing on his empathetic soul,
on the heart that pulsed its own fuel through
a contained system—all vein & artery, skin
& flesh, life source staying where it belonged.
I’ve read this before: Earth as a bleeding body.
We love to write ourselves bigger than our
being. But this was no bloody end, nor will
ours be. He left the metaphor behind, sealed
in a manila envelope out of the flame’s reach.
The conceit is his life’s work: we are all equal,
which is to say, we will burn the same. Call it
an industry, call it energy. Or call it what it is:
the cause of death. I fear the future, as he must
have—each toxic breath, each muddied petrol
pond where a lake once shined, for centuries.
We love to fill our pockets fuller than our own
foresight. Funny how profit, how convenience
blurs one’s vision so easily. How we refuse
to see ourselves in the flame, Prospect Park’s
once-green blades dark & heavy with our ash.