Science  Write  Now

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my friend didn’t know the one tree

in his backyard was a mulberry

still, there are those who see trees

as only a green thing that stands in the way

Blake wrote in seventeen ninety-nine


this week I listened to the sound

of wings fluttering to silence

on a recording of the last ever

pipistrelle bat

which lived

on Christmas island—


an island

I only remember as a place

where we’ve imprisoned people—


and I know little

about pipistrelle bats

not even if they liked to sing

in frequencies beyond our reach

as other bats are known to do


it was just the recorded flapping

of the last pipistrelle sounding out

but I thought, whatever we do

to other species we’re capable

of doing to our own


I was reaching for a mulberry

in the time the pipistrelles vanished

   and those on our island prisons half-heard

Feature image by Rudolph.A.furtado