“…in the last days…I will pour out of my Spirit upon all
flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and
your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall
dream dreams.” Holy Bible, King James Version, Acts 2:17
While I walk in the cemetery cradling my newborn,
night smog turns green in the glow of the city.
Vaulted skies inverted, what seemed the earth’s ceiling
topples into our lungs. She trembles a bit, and I feel
helpless. I knew I would yell and threaten her,
but I did not know
I would suffocate her.
Impenetrable, the air filters sun and stars.
Orange days turn into red,
Striding past the vacant church, I sense
no prophesy, no visions, no dreams,
when porridged air clogs pores and alveolar macrophage.
I hear souped-up coupes racing somewhere close;
their incense rises and spreads overhead,
infiltrating all bodies
like a holy ghost on Pentecost.
The tailpipe is the dove, according to state reports, even though
the mountain to the west has been excavated
into thick air.
We may live our lives along the Wasatch Range,
but it is the Oquirrhs that permeate us. Almost home,
pouring winds scour our flesh.
I want to remain upright,
but I stoop and lean.
I offer the wind my back and become a sand dune.
I cover my child, who could not be stayed,
who emerged from liquid into this idea of air
Raised in Sandy, Utah, Jesse D. Peterson co-founded the Utah journal saltfront and is pursuing his PhD at KTH-Royal Institute of Technology, researching cultural eutrophication to better understand human relationships to ecological degradation. His writing can be found in Terrain.org, GeoHumanities, and The Discourses of Environmental Collapse: Imagining the End. b. 1983