Scoundrel Time

Self-Portrait as Mass Extinction Event

I am the asteroid, the volcano, the poles shifting,
the parasitic nonnative species.

I am the Sumatran tiger, stalking prey in deforested villages.
I am the dodo bird, awkwardly attempting flight.
I am the carrier pigeon, fantastic plumage a sign of demise.

I am the bamboo forest flowering before collapse;
the snow leopard snarling in a cage, lurking in shadows.

Look beneath the earth, I am already at work.
Look in the sky, a river of feathers and music erased.

I am sulfur in the rain and dust in the atmosphere, an ocean losing oxygen.
I am the sea warming slowly, the red jellyfish and lionfish crowds.
I am the ice underneath penguin nests, I am the island
on which a polar bear balances, precarious.

You and your little dance in the atmosphere, your shifting
continents, your biosphere’s fluctuating undulations. Speak now:
leaf, fur, egg, before you are buried, forgotten, another layer of history under my feet.





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