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From: Vol.10 N.01 – The Transformative Now

The Earth as a Woman Passively Smoking

by Jayant Kashyap
“where were you
when the seas
were warming?”

– 'Sixteen Haiku' by Daniel Clark
My brother says passive smoking is worseworse than actual

smoking— you’re taking up / taking in


out of gratitude or, perhaps, for the sake

             of company—

and your lungs / heart—full of tar—

             are constantly on fire.

A friend, waving rings of air / of smoke

             says what difference does quitting make


isn’t death the only constant?

Isn’t death the only constant?

             He says it in a way that says he

has mastered the art of not having

regrets / of not giving in

             to grief. He says it

without getting excited for the weekend

—which is four days later—and, here, you

             are worried about tomorrow.

             You’re worried about tomorrow

and tomorrow and tomorrow—

you want your veins / rivers

             detoxified, which says

you’re acknowledging your mistakes

             and of those you lent things to.

Still, you accept the mistakes as yours / like

saying what difference does quitting make


You want your rivers detoxified—

the synapses / the bridges

need rebuilding—

             you keep looking for somewhere

             to place an order / keep looking

for the beavers—

but they’ve finally made it to

             the threatened / protected list—

             they’ve now mastered the art of hiding.

And you

are unlearning words like blue

—not sad—blue /

             like aquamarine / words

like birds / like snow / like warmth.

You’re relearning words

             like warming / like eutrophication /

             like warming / warming / warming.

You want your rivers detoxified

while they have blood / water—

             while they’re there.
Published: June 2023
Jayant Kashyap

is a poet, essayist, translator and artist. He has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Sundress Publications’ Best of the Net, and is the author of two pamphlets and a zine, Water (Skear Zines, 2021). His work appears in POETRYMagmaThe Fourth River and elsewhere.

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.