The LUGO Press

Eye to eye Illustrated by Laura Steel Pascual

Eye to eye

This piece was written for the Green Office’s Spring Poetry competition, on the theme: Environmental Guilt, which took place between the months of April-May 2022.

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Four out of seven mornings I cannot look myself in the eye.


I try,

But I flit, I waver: my mirror laughs.

There is Guilt there,

Reflection knows it,

Enjoys it.


I cannot look myself in the eye.


I pretend Mother Nature at times,

I am angry – the forced smile,

The nurturer caught in Abuse,

Beaten by her own child.


I cannot look myself in the eye.


I scream for Her sometimes,

I reach out:

To touch, to comfort,

To feel better about myself.


I do not. She does not.

We struggle to breathe.


I cannot save me,

I cannot save Her,

I cannot save-


I cannot look myself in the eye.


If nothing matters, everything matters,

If nothing matters, everything matters,

If nothing matters, everything matters.


It is the mantra of Absurd,

The positive nihilism I am rooted in,

To maintain a sense,

4/7 do not believe in.


I cannot look myself in the eye.


I am poisoning the Earth and roots will die,

And if that isn’t what kills me then maybe Guilt will.


Maybe one night She will reach for my throat,

And succeed.


But the world will keep turning anyway,

So, what’s the point.


I cannot look myself in the eye.


Hypocrite,

Three out of seven mornings, I do.


And my hand trembles.


“I am sorry,” I tell Her,

I tell me.

I am sorry,

I am sorry:

I was born in human form.


Guilt means nothing,

It means everything,

It means nothing alone.


I cannot look myself in the eye.


I study the Environment!


It is out of Guilt,

Out of a twisted moral obligation,

I’ve put on myself.

From Humanities, to Politics, to:

The Lost Cause.


I cannot look myself in the eye.


I am specialising in its ethics.

Ethics? What Ethics?

Oh Mother, oh bother,

I am scared.


What will happen if no-one cares.


Do I?

Really, do I?

I am Impostor, maybe.

Maybe.


3/7 to my mirror, I whisper:

“What is it not to be?”


I cannot look myself in the eye.


If nothing matters, everything matters,

If nothing matters, everything matters,

If nothing matters, everything matters.


I cannot look myself in the eye.


If nothing matters, everything matters.


Right?