Plants, People, Privilege?

footprint on wood boardssoft-soled sneakers step through
messy mud, slip on
stained stepping stones,
dealing death-blows to decades of
root work, rhizomes, winter rosettes of
limp leaves no longer lifelike, lingering
bereft, half-buried, burdened by
compaction
and lack of traction and
human tracks from

soft-soled sneakers, sealed over
brown feet, belonging to
bodies of brown men marching
mindless of my mental melancholy;
scaling steep slopes, not slipping
while gripping
rough ropes and roof ridges using
driver-drills, dawn to dusk
ratcheting roofing rivets while
saws shriek, cutting stick-straight seams in
patterned panels placed precisely under
expert eyes, as I
watch wanton waste from windows.

This is my privilege:
to prioritize plants over people,
woo wildlife without the weight of worry,
wander winding wooded paths protected
by my purchasing power bought
by my birthright as a
white-collar white woman.
Woke? but wallowing
while watching

soft-soled sneakers step through
messy mud

roof lines and trees

12 thoughts on “Plants, People, Privilege?

  1. What a beautiful expression of the heartbreak of watching civilization destroy nature! We know it is inevitable and often necessary – after all, we all live in homes and neighborhoods and go to stores and schools that wouldn’t be there otherwise. Still, it’s heartbreaking to think of the life and lives destroyed in the process. I think it is Steinbeck in his book “Travels With Charley” who said “I wonder why progress looks so much like destruction.” May we all be more mindful of our interactions with all sentient beings and the environment in which they live.
    Thank you, Melissa.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Elise. I was just so struck by the juxtaposition of my sadness over a few plants perishing and the absolute competence and skill of the roofers, whose lives are so different from mine.

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