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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


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