After Wayne Binitie
in Alabama we all had the same favourite record
that played from the cupboard as we watched stars fall
‘cause it couldn’t be snow even in winter. even in gulf’s paradise
where the frost was Spanish moss and the hog suckers found
their algae bellies in the pond far from their cousins of colourless blood.
like us they too kissed the rocks home
and until the mouth of a whale becomes home
they will drift through ocean tides as I search for any record
of our breath in the ice. snow enters the oceans in blood
streams for red algae to congeal the sea, its anaemia falling
for the north-western passage—blushing to be found
by search ships headed for paradise
or science, discovery having its own dislodged place in paradise.
in that slush-water-rain, scientists brought home
alga of nickel and iron frozen in their findings,
but the very first was Aristotle. written in script was a record
of a crimson snow more seaweed flesh than water. on fells,
the fells, those ancient mountains too bled
some two thousand years ago. Earth could oxidise its blood
to evaporate again from solid, again from past there: in old paradise
where we could never have dreamed that arctic fronds could fall
through water to coast and survive the heat of a new home
a new time, in ever-summer like us, by us, to the record
spinning in vertical currents and trying to forget that we found
out artic sea ice was getting younger. that we found
out our wounds could melt the ice and in our own time blood
could cover the river delta with the mineral red record
of watermelon snow. pink, it fooled paradise
with its hot-toned allusion, its pools of home
pulling. as barometric pressures fall
soon come blizzards, or thunders, cold fronts in fall
and winter, even to our old Alabama. that night, we found
our ways back to that song again that sounds of home.
we looked out to the opaque soon deepened in blood
and watched what could have been snow in our paradise—
wishing that this moment too be etched in Earth’s record.
Note: Wayne Binitie is exhibiting in Glasgow throughout the UN climate summit COP26 - more info - https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-58787284
Nina Hanz is a German-American writer based in Berlin. In 2020, she graduated from the Royal College of Art’s MA Writing programme. where she cultivated her practice around time and place, geology and ecology. Both her prose and poetry deal with unexpected iterations of the ground.