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Extinction Psalm
Lynn Domina (bio)
Do none of us remain,
not even one?
Surely one among us survives, hidden
by shadowed snow or curled leaf or our own undulant stealth.
We call to you, silence
calling to silence.
In our mute despair, we cry out,
but your response lingers apart from this clamorous world.
You created us,
mastodons, our massive skulls left to calcify in rock;
slick half-inch frogs, our bellies
dun darkening to green, then black, our translucent
webbed feet separating
water from the water,
then bloating, sinking, muck
hardening around tarsal, metatarsal, spine;
wallaby and bandicoot loping across Australian prairie,
our bones entombed by rippling sand.
You created us,
Mauritian Duck, Mariana Mallard, Labrador Duck,
White-winged Sandpiper, North Island Snipe, Ascension Night Heron,
Great Auk to stagger across Iceland’s coves,
Bogota Sunangel to whirr from blossom to deep blossom,
a shimmering mirage.
We have become images of absence.
Did you create us to become images
of absence?
Hear us in our silence.
Listen as our silence hovers
above water. Remember your breath
soothing chaos into form. Breathe again.
Remember your delight at vines
bursting from seeds, at chicks
chipping through shells.
Breathe again. Create new forms
for us who once had form.
We know you recall bright wings
brushing your wrist, our fast hearts beating,
beating as you tossed us skyward,
the dulled pupils as we returned, singly,
dying and dead.
You who will never die, who lives and lives without your kind,
imagine our grief
and grieve us into being.

 

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