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Friday, October 04, 2019


by Mary Lux

The skies are emptying out. The number of birds in the United States and Canada has fallen by 29 percent since 1970, scientists reported on Thursday. There are 2.9 billion fewer birds taking wing now than there were 50 years ago. –The New York Times, September 22, 2019. Video of sanderlings by Washington State, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Gone from the River of Foul Run-off
flowing with trash-plastic and sick fish–

Gone from the Prairie of Emptiness,
of bee and grasshopper, gopher and butterfly–

Gone from the Killing Fields of crops coated
with chemicals, deserted
by cricket, tatydid, firefly–

Gone from the Feral Cat Jungle of woods,
back alleys, fenced yards, waterfronts–

Gone from the City of Lethal Towers
of implacable, break-neck glass–

Gone from the Choking Skies of Smoke
covering the dearth of insects–

So has departed the Passenger pigeon:
now falls the Swift, the Oriole, the Jay,
Bobolink, Meadow lark, Wood thrush,
Barn swallow and Bluebird,
even the commonest, the House Sparrow.

Fled, all, into another
that of No Return:
the last eye frozen in death's ice,
the last wings lying still, bent off-angle,
on earth's sterile ground—

Gone into the Cosmos of Absence
of all but memory and imagination.

Mary Lux is a Milwaukee poet, longtime practicing member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.  Has appeared in four anthologies including Masquerades and Misdemeanors, edited by Marilyn Taylor; in print and online publications.