Vapor Trails

Vapor Trails                   John Berkowitz   ‘10

 Delicious early spring morning–forsythia, daffodils, grass

beaming, but blossoming so much earlier than usual. . .

record-breaking warmth

bringing record-breaking flooding,

and a very watered down maple sugaring season.


Two vapor trails streak the sky,

and my invisible tailpipe trail, with thousands of others,

melts into the air as I drive.


I wonder how many of my fellow travelers– sipping coffee

and strategizing whatever small success and security

the new day might bring–

also ponder whether our marvelous metal inventions,

leaving seemingly innocent and lovely long white

clouds in the sky,

are actually poisoning that sky

and fouling our whole nest below?


Two days later, a giant plume of volcanic ash

rises from deep within the earth in Iceland,

drifts to Europe, and grounds all flights for 4 days.

Two seasons later, on another crystalline morning,

I gaze at the distant white streak of another jet trail;

and closer, two flocks of geese Vee-ing and singing

before dropping into the beaver pond in the valley.


These combusting engines, defining our progress and prosperity,

have been roaring on ground, water, and air

for not much more than a hundred years;

the geese have been honking for millions.

When we learn to make our machines sing like geese,

and fertilize rather than desecrate the earth

with their droppings,

then we will discover the modern new world

of our belonging.