Floating in the clouds of Venus
Tie me to a met balloon
and let me drift in Venus’ atmosphere,
that planet masquerading as a star.
Suit me up so her sulphuric acid
won’t sear my lungs, turn my sugars
into dirty carbon sludge; give me
a microscope, so I can scan for phosphine,
for armoured molecules dancing
in these carbon dioxide skies.
Don’t drop me; up here it’s balmy,
down there it’s ocean-bottom pressure
and pizza-oven hot, a billion times
as acid as their earthly cousins’ dens.
When I’ve discovered what their shells
are made from, I’ll send back word – you’ll need
to start production lines asap,
to reproduce these little heroes’ helmets
so you can stay at home.
If the climate deniers are right
and it’s all a trivial matter of semantics
(I’m playing devil’s advocate),
let’s just go home. Leave a few romantics
to their hopeful protests. Light a new fire.
In Agbogbloshie, they’re doing just that:
burning the plastic off of copper wire.
It’s got nothing to do with the climate, that.
Besides, it’s not my wire that’s burning,
not my appliance plugged into the grid,
not my government that’s not for turning.
It’s not my chart, my takeover bid.
I simply cannot see these things connected.
If I did, I would be disaffected.
Lee Nash writes poetry and flash fiction. Her work has appeared in diverse journals and anthologies, including Acorn, Ambit, Angle, Magma, Mezzo Cammin, Slice, Southword, and “The Best Small Fictions 2019.” Her first poetry chapbook, “Ash Keys,” was published by Flutter Press. She was a 2018 Bath Flash Fiction Award prizewinner, a joint winner of the 2019 Princemere Poetry Prize, and is First Prize winner in Fish Publishing’s 2020 The Lockdown Prize (haiku and senryu category).