January 14, 2019 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Micheile Henderson photo



Lynne Zotalis




The Only Mother You’ll Ever Have



I am a petulant child’s paragon of patience, indulging my spoiled brat,

slightly afraid of my rebellious teen,

I’ve given humanity, oh say, four billion years to ‘find’ yourself.

Nurturing Gaia, primal mother, vilified victim of abuse




You think you’ve been assaulted?!

raping my forests, you denuded the majestic Redwoods. Ninety-five percent destroyed

Hacked down, gorging greedy desire. Who tried to save Minnesota’s forests in 1902? HA!

Women. Maria Sanford and Florence Bramhall  establishing the Chippewa National Forest.

Fertility goddess, Demeter, deified harvester  battling forces eradicating vital species,

holding treasures in delicate balance while artifacts dissolve to dust


Now envision the subjugating practice of shearing women

expiating men’s frustration over defeat in battle, making women the scapegoat

with punishing brutality. You argue God insists on the mandatory shaved head?

“God requires,” the religious fanatic’s justification. Men controlling my body.

Olympian Goddess of wisdom, Athena, most courageous and resourceful,

intervene, armor us to do battle


“I was pushed from behind into a bedroom, pushed onto the bed and Brett got on top of me.

His hands pinned me down, then a hand over my mouth to stop me from screaming.

I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.”


Choking off oxygen, my bountiful landscape is parched, polluted, tortured with lethal gasses,

herbicides, pesticides, chemicals heaped with CFCs reaching the stratosphere,

ultraviolet radiation, chlorine atoms erasing the critical ozone layer.


Who will address poisoned drinking water,

ensuring the Great Lakes are not reduced to dumping grounds for industry?

Habitat for fish ruined as the oil-slick Cuyahoga River flowed like burning lava in ’69.

Finally convinced, lawmakers passed the Clean Water Act inspiring the 1st Earth Day in 1970.

Present administration’s roll back of EPA rules

on a crash course to unequivocally decimate our water systems.

Thetis, hang on. Keep struggling to survive; your life-giving water runs with our tears.


The Kansas Corporation Commission has had to further restrict

the amount of oilfield wastewater injected underground

in the hopes of reducing the staggering number of earthquakes in the region.

It’s too toxic to dump above ground; injections upsetting the balance

between layers of rock deep underground, causing that rock to shift and generate tremors.


Persephone’s gut roils, contracts. Dilated, groaning to expel a stillborn entity.


“I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone the details.

I tried to convince myself that because Brett did not rape me,

I should be able to move on and just pretend that it had never happened.”

Vak Devi, flood us with truth, with the power of words that express and expose,

that cannot be silenced, radiance piercing the shadows


Are we complicit?  What can I do?




Elect responsible and environmentally strident people to our governing bodies.












Lynne Zotalis

As a freelance contributor and member in the Iowa Poetry Association, Lynne’s poetry has been published in Lyrical Iowa for ten years running. Since 2008, she’s participated in the Peace and Social Justice Writers Group at the Loft in Minneapolis, MN, where two of her pieces were included in the group’s chapbook entitled, Peace Begins. Lynne is a contributor to Turning Points: Discovering Meaning and Passion in Turbulent Times, Poetic Bond VII , and was one of six winners of the RH Cunningham short story contest published in the book Life Dances. All available on Amazon.

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