Qi Qi, the Endling
Pale, blind, goddess of the Yangtze the only thing I can do is supplicate lean towards the guilt wear it like a red-skinned scarf soaked in the blood of every species we couldn’t save. Apologies are too weak last year we lost over two dozen birds, sharks, lizards, frogs, fish, snails: hush you can’t save what you don’t know needs saving tracking missing feathers across an acoustic frequency, spectrum of absence. Martha was a passenger pigeon wholesome pinkish-rufous iridescent bronze neck catching the light sleek and slender hunted from hero to zero in fifty years twittering her final song alone. Celia, Pyrenean ibex, Bucardo, ghost long-horns sillhouetted in memory against a setting sun, dying again and again as we try to atone, resurrect, clone. Lonesome George Pinta Island Galapagos Tortoise older than any man rarest creature in the world no longer rare but every endling is rare by definition the heart can only take so much. What did yours tell you I wonder uselessly your exquisite preserved body reveals no secrets. I imagine you all somewhere in the liminal space we call nowhere exchanging glances. laughing at the extent of anguish, our reckoning and what it might mean to pay attention. Meanwhile under the radar of advancement Qi Qi quietly disappears. The languid river stretches from a glacier in Tibet to the tower blocks of Shanghai, such progress winding its deadly beauty past the canyons and valleys of three gorges: Qutang, Wu, Xiling, transparent waters as silent as sonor clicks and whistles that once told a bedtime story of shrinking sand bars and terrible hunger.
Feature image by Charlie Fong