…the caterpillar digests itself, releasing enzymes to dissolve all of its tissues. If you were to cut open a cocoon or chrysalis at just the right time, caterpillar soup would ooze out.
—Ferris Jabr, Scientific American
The night park is lonely
as snails sledding pavement.
A plastic bag catches ghosts
and the cocoon snags a twig.
Juicy cells chant DNA
rosaries. Grass grows like breath,
sunlight bewitched into sugar.
Drainpipes drip mossy sticks
rattling on straws and cups.
Moth-flesh thickens, her heart’s jelly
pinging blood through her
brainy ganglion. Beer bottles roll
dead cisterns without the spell
of making. Moonflowers open
white gowns of ripened pollen,
the world spins beyond permission
or desire, and the moth breaks
her dangling coffin, her wings
clapping yellow applause.
Elegy to the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
As of today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has made its position known: The agency has proposed officially removing the Ivory-billed Woodpecker from the endangered species list and declaring the iconic woodpecker extinct.
—Andrew Del-Colle, Audubon Magazine
I pray you still live,
netted through bald cypress twigs,
feathered black like a mad deacon
in a church of owls,
hacking hardwoods with your cream-white beak
for your last webworm caterpillar
succulent as Earth.
My lament can’t make your bones sing
clarinet notes through gator-lazy swamps,
mosses’ green gumbo bobbing
with punctured barrels and shopping carts.
Crawdads sob in hot lagoons.
Plovers whistle griefs where hurricanes
cry salt tears from the gnashing wind.
Powerlines snap, spiders wrap
woodsheds in silk funeral shrouds, yet you
my friend, have not come back.
When rain stops, a clear sky weeps
meteors. Spring hatchlings crack open-mouthed
from eggs. New birds evolve, though never again
will your love song beckon through the trees.