I WOKE UP THIS MORNING FACELESS

and without words. The first coherent thought circulating my stream of consciousness was whether or not it would be morally justifiable or even ethical to one day bring a living child into a world like ours.

If Earth were wallpaper, she’d be peeling down like dead skin all around us. These days we can hardly inhale air without considering the consequences of letting the sickness of this era invade our lungs.

Nihilism is a global pandemic. No cure and all of us are infected. You, me, everyone we’ve ever loved. We’ve got the twenty-first century blues. Look around and you’ll see it. Apathy plagues our blood.

But maybe I’d raise my daughters to know peace the way I did, before it peeled away. I’d raise them flower children, dizzy on other decades, Woodstock-minded with bodies full of music. I’d raise them soft-hearted, on beat poetry and swinging 60s and the same records I was raised on, skips and scratches included. They’ll learn how to dance and keep dancing as the seams of this planet buckle and tear, ripping and shedding until it is done. I’d raise them to be matches for their mountains. I’d raise their souls to blossom in a world void of summer rain.

And I’d look at them in beautiful terror. Living child, you are immunity to the end. Fresh layer of paint on the ravaged wall. Fresh air filling the lungs, no trace of disease, in and in and in.

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