Stolen Fire by Wendi White Each of us, turning a key, flipping a switch, uses the energy of 89 slaves. — Andrew Nikiforuk You said, dear Father, that Monticello could not keep its fields plowed, its white dome lifted above our valley, its clocks wound and wine chilled without them. But I have been to Connecticut and there the farms do not harvest their grain on the backs of slaves. There women are not sorted by the shape of their hips into breeding stock or sent to ground, spilling their lives into the earth or onto bloodied bed sheets after birthing babes for the auction block. You said, slavery was a problem for another age to solve…. This letter swirls through centuries, recursive currents of time that eddy from Jefferson’s desk to my screen as I read how we warm ourselves with stolen fire. Driven by pistons, unfettered from ground, washed with warm water from our taps, the meat we never slaughter appears on our plates flown from afar. We cannot imagine our field’s being plowed, our goods delivered any other way. Some say carbon is a problem another age must solve… as storm clouds gather, seas rise, another reef is lost, but have we fully reckoned the cost? Have we reckoned the blood we’ll spill for every drop we draw?