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We Make & Break 

I want to say one word to you…Plastics.
                                                                                            The Graduate

Derived from oil. As in polyester, as in fleece clothing recycled from water bottles. 
As in bags and wraps that slip like condoms over carrots and carpets. Sent to China 

and burned. Disintegrating, microscopic fibers ride thermals like smoke found high
in the Pyrenees, but fly invisibly like no-see-ums that bit us as we crushed acorns

and called “not it” on summer nights. Then, tiny constellations of poison puffed and 
swelled our skin. Now planets of plastic swirl in ocean eddies. They balloon our lungs, 

and the stomachs of whales. 88 pounds found recently inside a dead one 
in the Philippines. Like our Lucite necklaces pounded into circles, sea turtles swim 

festooned by 6-pack rings—beer, soda and big-box carry-alls. Choked by new age nooses. 
What to do with cannulas and catheters, water and sewer pipes, sluicing vitals

to and fro? We have 3-D hearts and 3-D guns; only one has online instructions.
And we plasticize ourselves, inject lips and breasts, cut and carve our flesh, 

skin ourselves until we are smooth as celluloid. Unable to crack a grin or wink 
at them, will our babies grow wary of joy? If we’ve chosen never to furrow or frown,

will we implode, become our own incendiary devices? Like plastics we will break
down. In the end, let me layer between leaves, rot, and return to carbon, to the trees.

​                                                                                                                                            —Suzanne Edison 

Suzanne Edison’s recent chapbook, The Body Lives Its Undoing, was published by Benaroya Research Institute. Poetry can be found in: Michigan Quarterly Review; The Naugatuck River Review; HEAL; Persimmon Tree; JAMA; SWWIM; Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine; and elsewhere. She lives in Seattle and teaches at Richard Hugo House.