science communication

Michaela Keeble

 

i ask jonny to tell me again

about the science behind

climate modelling

 

i ask jonny to keep it simple

not for our readers

but for jonny

because he’s new

to science communication

and no one here is in touch

with their feelings

 

he tells me it’s like when

your mother is sick

and you receive the diagnosis

 

he says the question is not

do you believe in sickness

and it is not

do you believe in diagnosis

 

he says the question is

does my diagnosis

mimic your mother’s symptoms?

 

jonny doesn’t know

my mother died of

lung cancer

 

i don’t blame anyone

i don’t blame the doctors

whose tools

were not exact enough

i’m grateful for the lives they save

 

(though i know how many

women’s lives

are lost at the altar of science)

 

i was cast into a pointless orbit

a world without mothers

a world where modellers

must never be seen

to be healers

and science communicators

must not rely so heavily

on metaphor

 

in the anthropocene

models are reality

and language is approximation

 

we have a living mother

she breathes and breathes

and she will cast us out

 

 

Michaela Keeble is an Australian writer living in Aotearoa with her partner and three kids. She mainly writes press releases about climate change, but her poetry and fiction are also published online and in print, including in Southerly, Capital, Cicerone, Turbine, Mimicry and CommunityLore.

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