Extinction

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.

 

Keli Osborn

About Keli Osborn

Keli Osborn lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she works with community service organizations and co-coordinates Windfall, a public reading series featuring poets, memoirists, novelists and other writers. Keli’s poems appear or are forthcoming in The Fourth River, KYSO Flash, The Quotable, Timberline Review and the 2015 Red Sofa Poets chapbook, How to Love Everything.
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