"Bats Perish, and No One Knows Why"
—headline in the New York Times
Secluded in their cold arcades of rock,
embraced by a thousand reverberating kin,
bats have perished and are perishing.
The plowboy in the field, dreaming of love,
perishes, and the scorched grub,
disclosed in the moist earth.
Spiders and the spiders' children perish:
the hawk, the stylish dragonfly, the trout.
A beetle cocks its blurred eye
at the underside of a leaf and perishes.
The lizard perishes, and the famished fox.
The mule's body subsides and sours on a riverbank.
The worshipers perish and the mourners:
the strenuous celebrants, the terrier with his grin,
the best-loved child, the browsing herd of pigs.
The tongue perishes, and the eye.
Lamentation and praise, incantation, song,
the resolve of the wolf, and the wolf's prey—perish.
The grassland perishes in fire;
the ant drowns in a waterspout.
The bear, the bat, the water rat,
the woman leaning on her windowsill,
the protozoa sunning in their sluggish green:
perished and perishing. No one knows why.
Reeves Keyworth recently published a chapbook, My Daphne Phase. She lives in Tucson, Ariz.
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