eco-poems by

Paola Corso:  My Mother's Eggsand Emissions Test

 Paola Corso was born in the Pittsburgh area where her Southern Italian immigrant family found work in the steel mill. A New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry fellow and Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award winner, she is the author of Catina’s Haircut: A Novel in Stories on Library Journal’s notable list of first novels in Fall 2010, Giovanna’s 86 Circles And Other Stories, a John Gardner Fiction Book Award Finalist, a book of poems, Death by Renaissance, and newly released, The Laundress Catches Her Breath and Once I Was Told the Air Was Not for Breathing, which includes a section of poems about the "Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire." More info at


My mother's eggs are nothing like soot.
          The ice on the North Pole is less
          likely to be white than the hen house.
          belly-downIf ice is tar is an oil slick is a leaded
belly-down freeze, then Santa is a dirty man. If warmth is a global airing
of fueled injection on burn, then airing is a herring melt with egg-shell fins
that hatch and stick and tarry. But I still love Santa, his plump gas pump suit,
          is octane eyes, the nose plugs he wears to sleigh through the driven ozone, the grin on his face when he takes
           the lump of coal out of my stocking and fills it
          with a Hummer. My present from him is as thoughtful as
          an egg laid
if the hen house is a green house burning 



If white ice or snow is exposed to carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and soaks up heat more slowly than dark-colored water or earth, then should the Inuit hunter falling through thinning ice in the Arctic reach in his pocket for:

A) a Swiss army knife

B) a monogrammed handkerchief

C) a restaurant tip calculator card

For the correct answer, see next page -->

  If you chose A, clip your nails. If you chose B, blow your nose but not on your initials. If you chose C, treat yourself to a herring melt and give your waitress 10 percent for poor service, 15 percent for average service, and 20 percent for above average service. If the service was outstanding, show her the inside of your Hummer, turn on the TV, the radio, the air, turn on the heat, the headlights, the blinkers, turn on the rear defogger, the defroster, the wipers, turn the ignition and drive until you see an Inuit hunter falling through thinning ice then break because you have a bumper sticker that says, "I break for Inuit hunters falling through thinning ice." Keep the TV, the radio, the air on, the heat, the headlights, the blinkers on, the rear defogger, the defroster, the wipers, the engine on and walk over to the Inuit hunter. Administer the Emissions Test. The correct answer is what you reach for.


Copyright ©2012 by PAOLA CORSO. All rights, including electronic, reserved by the author.