Mapping Europe After Global Warming

Author: Mary O’Donnell

They grew up on an island,
looked to the big bones
of other countries, arteries of rivers,
the thousand-acred fields, pinnacled cities –
proof of a different history in museums
and echoing galleries.

Such places once drew the islanders away
from their sea-slobbered land.
Now the ice shelf is drifting.
On the land mass they discover
how it felt to be an islander.

Flood plains of Danube and Rhine
submerge roads, dredge towns flat,
tideless places are prey to moon drag,
new seas sluice the olive-shaded hills.

Roads, bridges, poplars and plaintains
slide and crumble; once summery homes
of the Alpes Maritimes are lifted –
the unplanned, what it could never come to.

No earthquake, no drought.
Just water, breaking continents.
It glides across land.
Bucks and flashes wetly,
a mirror for the sun.