September

This “vision” is one of the 30+ that we’ll publish here in the next months. Most of them will go into Life Plus 2 Meters, Volume 2 (expected publication: Dec 2017). We hope that you will comment on the message, suggest ways to sharpen the narrative, and tell us how the story affects your understanding of adapting to climate change.

Most importantly, we hope that you enjoy reading these stories and share them with your friends and family. —David Zetland (editor) and the authors


a september schoolroom.
new year, new class, new chance
to fill my empty holidays
and take a bet
on sitting in back rows
with big boys, tough boys, real boys.
leave front rows
to smart boys, small boys, queer boys,
not my boys
this september.

teacher shows us his hostages,
plants detained
for a slow summer
adaptation.

noonwraiths are pulled from cupboards,
spider plants with light-starved leaves,
all wisp and pomp,
curving like the strokes
of pale script.

out of practice, I offer twisted cheeks
to boys sitting either side,
forced, efficient smiles
that get me nothing.

we see ferns hugging windows,
fronds rubbing in their frenzy,
the limbs of parlor palms
knotting inch-by-inch
crawling to the sun.

lesson ignored, back row boys
talk tough, play rough
like acorns comparing height.
strange, to see friendship by instinct.

the teacher brings us holly leaves
that wear wax like cheap lipgloss, a shine
to hold their water in.
their spikes do not escape me.

lesson ignored, front row boys
shuffle left, duck heads,
under attack from spitballs,
no reaction but tightened mouths
and tightened shoulders.

I make the point to laugh.

eyes meet, challenge accepted.
I hit last year’s friend behind the ear,
hide borrowed straw,
and grin at new ones.


Jack Cooper is a neuroscience graduate who tries to impress his arty friends with his science, and his sciency friends with his poems. He finds inspiration in unusual prompts, British mythology, and Japanese video games.

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