Poetry by Lauren Lim

It Doesn’t Take a Chicken to Realize

That the sky is falling is obvious. I know that you know. All I’m saying is that you might know that the sky is falling, but one eventually becomes comfortable with this kind of information and forgets to think and act accordingly.

Oh no, this isn’t a call to action; there are plenty of those generally ineffective pieces of work out there already. And I’m not saying this for the benefit of those who need a hundred thousand scientists to agree and “know” beyond a doubt what common sense could tell them. I’m simply making an observation to myself in your presence.

Look up. The sky is falling. See the rents over there? See the deep, bleeding gashes? Oh, and over there. When that flap moves in the wind, you can see what’s behind it. I can’t look at that void without becoming weak in the knees. I understand now why children are afraid of the dark. They must’ve seen this darkness, ready to devour us, reminding us of how pathetically flawed and mortal we are.

We’ve all seen these cracks in the sky at some point—even, especially the Deniers. Somehow, the fact that the sky is falling has become a banality. As old news as iceberg salad. Nobody wants to hear about the innumerous, invariable rifts anymore: suicide bombings in Iraq, the threatened extinction of one sixth of all European mammals, genocide in Darfur, increased incidences of type II diabetes in youth, school shootings beginning with the purchase of firearms from supermarkets and ending with the self-inflicted deaths of the gunmen, corrupt politicians in [insert place here] who don’t give a damn about [insert something, someone here]. There is broad consensus in the following words: Try a little harder to dish up something that doesn’t bore us to tears. So the sky is falling. Let us know when it lands at our feet.

Because of course we can hear the distant crackles and booms, the distinct sound of ripping; of course we have seen the sky throwing itself down to earth, heartbroken. We can’t get away from it. Who can forget the oil slicked cormorants after Exxon Valdez, or the wails of the black and the poor once they discovered their safe haven a different kind of hell after the Hurricane, or the distended bellies and walking skeletons of Ethiopian famine, or the shivering homeless thrusting forth their paper cups for alms on the streets of San Francisco, or the execution of Tookie Williams who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times, or polar bears drowning from exhaustion.

Lauren Lim is a schoolmarm biding her time in the remote Bialowieza Forest in eastern Poland. When she’s not homesick for the food and slang of San Francisco, she hovers over the laptop and pretends to be busy writing gory fairytales and grim polemics. Except for the part about the grim polemics, and actually, the fairytales aren’t very gory.