(a philosophical argument that appeals to the emotions.)

Fallacy One:

Like a sea anemone
I am not that welcoming
and like a clown fish
you have grown an
oily outer skin that
seems to have protected
you for decades.

We live side-by-side
but I don’t know
what to do with you;
nothing I say
changes anything you think
or the way in which
you methodically
repeat the same
self-destructive actions.

Scientists say the climate
has changed, not that
you believe them, but
I see that my sting
is piercing you now
with a new ferocity—
a dangerous venom
of neurotoxins
that leave you stunned.

Fallacy two:

Of course there is another way to look at this
I’m not the one who is stinging you
you are the one who is stinging me.
and I am nearly unconscious.
when I am near you.

I know you don’t believe
in climate change
or maybe you
don’t believe
in change at all.

But I do and
I assure you
that I can feel my
very geography
the fault lines
seem to make new
wrinkles in my aging
face daily and I know,
that we are living
too close to the shoreline
and it won’t take much
of a hurricane to blow
us away.

Fallacy three:

What is the context
in which your emotional appeal
is relevant to my behavior

Where is the tipping
point at which
your misery
becomes my pity:
a call to action
in which I must change
for your comfort

Shakespeare was wrong
Of course,
the quality of mercy
is quite strained
when the mercy is
when free will is
pinched back like
a cactus flower
when the expectation is
that removal of the bloom
will feed the rest of the plant
forcing new blossoms

I am no flower
you cannot make me
grow in the direction
you want
and I have written
long enough today
to see that the inverse
is equally true.

Judith J. Katz is Lead Teacher for Creative Writing at Cooperative Arts and Humanities Magnet High School, New Haven, Connecticut. She is Lead Creative Writing Teacher for Yale University’s Summer Scholar Program. She is published in “The New Sound Literary Journal,” and others. She was a first runner up in the “Kind of a Hurricane Press Editor’s Choice Awards.” She has published three poetry units (Yale New Haven Teacher’s Institute).