Poems of the Week

Low Risibility

by Nora Jay

“In June 2017, the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) senior director Stephen Risotto in a letter asked the agency to ‘suspend the implementation’ of the 2014 EPA memo laying out how regulators should hasten TCE cleanups.”—The Guardian

So this is the motto
Of Stephen Risotto,
American Chemical king:
“We don’t have a pre-nup
Enforcing a clean-up,
Which anyway isn’t a thing.
Let’s hear no more ructions
About our obstructions:
The charge (unlike spills) doesn’t stick;
We’ve never obstructed
The things that our muck did;
And if that upsets you, you’re sick.”

Leak of lead and spill of oil,
Gobbets of polluted soil,
Halogenous solvents (yum!),
Hexavalent chromium,
Lashings of formaldehyde,
Scum of ponds where frogs have died
(EPA-approved as clean);
Add trichloroethylene,
Mixed with babe’s discolored tongue,
Damaged heart and failing lung,
All with tasty tumors rife
(And, of course, the Right to Life).
Boil it down and serve it hot
In a big asbestos pot
For a rich Risotto dish,
Fit for CEOs! (You wish.)