A poem responding to ‘Villagers Pray at a Flooded Public Cemetery’ by Aji Styawan, Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient
Scrapes the land with blue tendrils,
where farmers pick up rods
and stilts stand tilted
above the ripple.
Wounds bond, mangroves of stitches
as shrimp take over sheep;
boats become the norm, inert
as industry splutters against the tide.
Vacant nests rest on houses with feet
Distant dreams of bare toes on grass
as buckets overflow in pools;
blue, brown, green.
One by one, hands collect rocks
for foundations, sweat drips; humid air,
in their minds a victory
against unstoppable expansion.
But, can it be stopped?
Heat expands the tendrils;
the epidermis splits.
Pollutants; a carbon storage escape
as wet eyes watch collected rocks
f l o a t a w a y
with the current.
On banks of brown relatives sit,
wet feet, wet stones.
No escape awaits; the build cyclical.
A lifetime in water, no escape in death.
Bodies buried in water that rises today.