Complaining of leaves, neighbors
last week cut down three maples,
sawed off every limb. Branches
fill their yard, inviting squirrels
going nowhere. Above my house,
crows chatter for hours. Do they
know of the Hawaiian cousin,
oblivious to possible mates, semen
coaxed by human hand for feathered
offspring? When great elephants fall
to poachers on the East African savanna,
does the earth tremble? Shallow graves
scar the ground where gentle tusks lift
the dead, survivors grieve motionless kin.
Snowdrop, rosewood, Wollemi pine:
disappearing. We are the asteroid this time.
The final wave of bright yellow frogs
lives in a zoo, cast from Eden, a cloud
forest. Windows at another latitude fasten
against thickening air, machinery purr.
A man presses a child to the ground,
and I look again—just lovers in the grass,
ensnared. Sticky fruit and heat splay across
the afternoon. Even the kitchen floor is a trap.
“We are the asteroid this time.” Scientists say the Earth is in the midst of a modern, human-caused mass extinction. See: Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction, an Unnatural History. Henry Holt & Company, 2014.