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Make a mountain out of every molehill. Roll up
dirt the way a kid gathers snow around itself
to make a man, but skip the coal, coal in mountains
a major reason molehills must make do,
or if you’re the mittened kid, don’t make your man
look fixedly at what happens to our summits.
That’s the problem this poem can’t work around:
the reduction of mountains to molehills
is itself the mountain that mining interests
don’t want us making of the molehills they make
of mountaintop removal and strip mines
making molehills of coal burning into mountains.
Forget the last five lines. Go outside and build
a honeycomb of chicken wire to hold up
piles of earth and stone. Remember the nothing
poems make happen. Holes in the ground out back
need filling, so fill them with the bones of moles
but not actual bones, only plaster casts
of bones strapped together and displayed in rooms
filled with natural-feeling light, with windows
facing views of hills they still call mountains.
Recycle this page by crumpling it, squeezed
like snow between mittens. Toss it on the heap.
If reading on a screen, leave it open and be
certain the screensaver cycles through landscapes
taken on your drive through a national park.
Don’t go to national parks that require flights.
Don’t go if it’s a lengthy drive. Ride a bike.
Better yet don’t go to national parks. Park
yourself at home and get back to the mountains
you should be making. A thimbleful of tears
binds together turned soil and adds a touch
of metaphor to poems you’ll have to write
about your molehill mountain, but skip the tears
if there’s seafood in your diet—even a trace
of mercury might cause your claim to be jumped.
Skip the poem. Before getting started, secure
the mineral rights to every molehill in sight.
Gather earth around yourself. A mountain
above you, wait in the dark for frost, for snow.
Brian Simoneau is the author of River Bound (C&R Press, 2014). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, The Georgia Review, Mid-American Review, Poet Lore, RHINO, Southern Indiana Review, and other journals. He lives in Connecticut with his family.
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