Why I March
When I was sixteen years old, I came down with a fever.
So exhausted, I could barely lift my head.
“This isn’t a cold,” my mother said,
Half-carrying me to the car.
I march for the radiologist
who analyzed my x-rays
And the physician that diagnosed me with pneumonia
And the pharmacist that filled my prescription for an
Antibiotic that might not exist if Alexander Fleming had not discovered
Because I had an infection that just decades earlier could have killed me
But science helped me reclaim my lungs.
When I was eighteen years old, I lost my great grandmother.
From the photos I have, I know her
A slideshow played at her funeral.
I march for the physicists
Who studied lenses
And the chemists
Who studied the properties of thousands of compounds
So the fathers of photography could learn to capture images of
Leading to the invention of the modern-day
Because I have pictures
Of me and my great grandmother,
Treasured photographs made possible by a
Legacy of scientific discovery.
I march for the computer programmers who invented Short Message Service,
Because when my dad decided to take his own life
I instantly received his last text message,
And I march for Alexander Graham Bell, the man who invented the telephone,
Because when I read, “I love you, sweetie. Goodbye,” I could call 9–1–1,
And I march for the geographers who create maps
And the software developers working at Google
Because when the 9–1–1 operator asked me what my dad’s address was and in my hysterical Panic,
I could not remember where he lived,
She used Google maps to find him,
And I march for Heinrich Hertz, who discovered radio waves,
Because without radio communication
The police would not have arrived at my dad’s home in time
And I march for the emergency medical team
that rescued him,
And the nurses
who cared for him,
And the doctors
who did not give up.
I march for the science that saved my father’s life.
I march for curiosity-driven science.
I march for the botanists who discovered a compound in the Pacific yew tree
that led to a new chemotherapy
The ecologists who discovered that a hormone found in platypus
venom could help cure
type 2 diabetes,
And I march for the researchers who believe that by studying
the regenerative capacity
of the axolotl
we might someday unlock
to cellular regeneration.
Who knows how many fathers’ lives,
might be saved
by discoveries we have yet to make
while exploring nature’s
I march for the astronomers and the astronauts,
The men and women who study the stars and moon,
Unraveling the mystery of how Earth came to be
And the potential for life on planets other than our own,
Whose work shows us just how little
we mean to the Universe
And just how much the Universe
should mean to us.
I march for Aldo Leopold,
The father of wildlife ecology,
who crafted the idea of an environmental ethic and
encouraged us to value all things
I march for John Muir,
An adventurous explorer, a writer, a naturalist who worked to preserve the American Wilderness,
And I march for Rachel Carson,
A marine biologist whose rallying cry to the environmental movement
Because I have parks to play in,
country sides to explore,
trails to hike,
mountains to climb,
rivers to kayak,
Because my tap water runs clean, and the air I breathe isn’t poison
Because science shows us the error of our ways and how to fix our mistakes,
Because rivers no longer burn when someone lights a match —
and when I step outside in springtime —
I hear the songbirds sing.
Click here to view a video performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmBlXfA4QtY&feature=youtu.be