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“to eat a half moon cookie in the face of climate change” by Jennifer Schneider

In February of 2022, we released our first Open Call: How might we recreate public health as art, letters, stories, and poetry? The following is a poetry submission we received from this open call.

“This piece focuses on the complex and layered public health issues that are both amplified and concealed in the face of ongoing climate change. Consumption has become, in many ways, a curious sport of increasing velocity. The challenge persists across all forms of consumption and related policies (and policy-making) including transportation, nutrition, education, and a myriad of other pressing social issues. Issues of sustainability and the long-term health of both our Earth and all living creatures that call Earth home matters because all life matters. Amidst ongoing tensions, political and otherwise, the long-term viability of our home is called into consistent question.”

Jennifer Schneider

 to eat a half moon cookie in the face of climate change

today i eat a half moon, slightly domed,

slightly dense, & remind myself

that as sun rises in the east,

& sets in the west,

the wild west 

remains of new frontiers

& ever – is forever evermore – increasing expansion.

cowboys always hungry 

everyone eats

i take a bite of a half-moon,

freshly packed, freshly frosted,  

& as the cookie’s fondant

melts & its dough crumbles,

i remember 

everyone eats

cowboys always hungry 

the golden toad is now extinct

as homo sapiens argue

amidst ever rising degrees

of fahrenheit amidst fires

& hurricanes holler,

as maria. irma. harvey.

sandy. katrina. andrew.

ida. shout, spew, & spiral.

alphabets & climates

out of order.

cowboys always hungry 

everyone eats

& i wonder, if average 

celsius readings, carbon emissions

& carbon dioxide concentrations

continue to climb

& if mangroves, hectares,

spotted frogs, staghorn corals, 

pikas, penguins, leatherbacks, 

& polar ice cap levels continue to fall

& if Jakarta,

Delhi, Miami

are vulnerable

& Lima, 

Lagos, & Karachi

equally so

how then, can i allow fondant

to melt on my tongue

as wheels spin rubber

in isolation

amidst desperation

everyone eats

cowboys always hungry 

axes & orbits remain in constant motion

of regular rotations 

of moon & earth. earth & sun.

cowboys always hungry 

& as the dense cake

base of the half-moon 

cookie continues to crumble

i pledge to do better. do more. 

under, of, & with each full moon.

Source: https://www.space.com/earth-day-facts-history-activities
Source: https://www.earthday.org/

“My poetry submission (to eat a half moon cookie in the face of climate change) addresses the public health issue described above in a variety of ways. The piece strives to both highlight long-standing and persistent tensions that have both created and contributed to the increasingly urgent nature of the public health issue. In addition to raising the issue for consideration, the piece also seeks to promote reflection (through a series of prompts and rhetorical questions) alongside the delivery (in a list-type format) of specific examples of environmental harms to a variety of identified living creatures, weather events, endangered species, and more.”

Jennifer Schneider

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