If I Could
by Alice Morris

If I could I would end
the Great Pacific Garbage Patch now– twice
the size of Texas– a floating island
of plastic trash
from runoff, landfill, ships

the sea

plastic bottle caps, toy parts, vinyl, cigarette lighters
they feed their young plastic pellets called–

Mermaids’ tears

albatross, seals, leatherbacks dying– from plastics

micro plastics peppering our seas
micro plastics ingested
by the sea life
that we eat

moving with ocean currents–
rotating in gyres–
the plastic garbage patch
bobs and spins

a fiendish dance

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: “Shorebirds are eating our plastics” (August 2016). I decided, in childlike fashion, to get out my now grown daughter’s old markers and colored pencils and draw a picture of a shorebird with a belly full of plastics to illustrate one way that we are devastating our vulnerable sea birds, sea creatures, and aquatic environments. My drawing is based on several graphic photos found on the Internet.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The theme, “If I,” threw me for a while. I kept thinking I should have a beautiful thought, or beautiful song-like poem, but the prompt drew from me a social/political/environmental issue that has been troubling me for quite some time. If I could change the situation described in my poem, I surely would.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alice Morris, a Minnesota native, earned her BS in English Education from Towson State University, and her MS in counseling from Johns Hopkins. She comes to writing with a background in art —  published in a West Virginia textbook and The New York Art Review. Her poetry is forthcoming or published in The Broadkill Review, included in a chapbook, two themed poetry collections, two anthologies published by Silver Birch Press, The Avocet, The Weekly Avocet, and Delaware Beach Life. She is a member of the Coastal Writers and the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild.