KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
Tanka Prose: 242 words [R]
Climate Crisis

The Final Straw

by Claire Everett

Today’s hot topic was vending-machine milk:

“Glass bottles. Surely that’s a great initiative?”

“No, better still, ditch the dairy, you’re not a baby cow.”

“But cutting down on plastic, that’s something achievable? Less radical. We can all play our part.”

“Hmm. What better way to salve the conscience than fixating on the little things—those that we actually have some control over? While we’re debating whether to bubble the dregs of our McFlurry through a stainless steel or silicon straw, we can ruminate on whether it’s worth buying a pair of those trendy new trainers made from recycled soda bottles. Meanwhile there’s a plastic slick floating in the Atlantic that’s three times the size of France...”

a red squirrel
wearing the death-trap
of its final snack
while catwalk models strut
in see-through PVC

on Instagram
in Okinawa
a hermit crab makes do
with a screw-top cap

so many friends
caught up in selfie filters
a photo reveals
what ghost fishing means
to a loggerhead turtle

a sea of sad emojis
and I too am borne away
on the current...
a seahorse with its tail
coiled around a Q-tip

custom jewelry
to hold a loved one’s ashes...
I scroll past
to a garbage-dump stork
clad in plastic film


Author’s Note:

The images referenced are as follows:

red squirrel
white stork

For further reading, see Plastic Soup [an article by George Monbiot in the Guardian (5 September 2018): “The problem is not plastic. It is consumerism.”].

—Published previously in Haibun Today (Volume 12, Number 4, December 2018); appears here with author’s permission.

Claire Everett
Issue 12, Summer 2019

is the founding editor of Skylark Publishing and Skylark: the journal, and former tanka-prose editor for Haibun Today. She is the author of two tanka collections, twelve moons and The Small, Wild Places; and co-author of Hagstones: A Tanka Journey with Joy McCall, and Talking in Tandem with her husband, Tony Everett. Claire served on the editorial team for Take Five Best Contemporary Tanka (Volume 4, 2011), and in 2015 she edited the Tanka Society of America’s Members’ Anthology, Spent Blossoms. She joined the editorial panel for the Red Moon Anthology in 2017.

Claire is mum to five children and step-mum to two and likes nothing better than to be cycling through the Dales with Tony on their trusty tandem Tallulah, or walking on the North Yorkshire Moors.

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