News Anchors Looking Around the Room, A Poem by Chris Russell

The only thing I wanted to do was fall asleep.

Not be sucked out by an undertow 1000 feet from shore.

I looked down into the water and thought I saw a tentacle,

it was too deep to know for sure,

so, I tried not to think about it.

Instead, I watched the surface for fins

until the lifeguard reached me

and her crawl stroke pulled me in.

I had a naive love of the ocean until that day,

when I realized I’d become a signature dish

of simply a larger tidal pool buffet.

Now there are rivers on the news swallowing up whole counties,

houses drifting to that sea,

a dog paddling to the nearest roof.

There’s an avalanche of absolutely awful news on

every morning now

and the ocean, which includes glaciers

and everything alive that helps keep all of us in balance,

seems greedier than usual.

And while its during times like these

that you see complete strangers helping each other out

and compassion is everywhere,

I can’t help but think there’s a kind of education happening,

and that this is all just life’s way of helping us wake up,

and that we could use a little more help with that yet.

Though I like to think we’re beginning to learn about that.

Imagine what it would be like if news programs showed news anchors

being more neurotic, looking around the room

not knowing what to say,

and without a laughter clearing,

remaining on the air in that floating feeling for a while,

shining through to our living rooms

that they don’t know what to do about the news

or what to think about being in such deep water.

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