The finding

Stop this chattering
about what it means, or
might mean. When you first
heard the news, what
was your reaction? Deafness.
Two mornings ago
I played the strange phone
message from
my brother in
Mississippi – Don’t know
if y’all heard yet, but they’ve
discovered the [….]
right across the river
from Rosedale
– heard
the tremor in his voice,
but my mind, fearful
daylight creature, failed
to fill in the blank.
I listened again: still
couldn’t make sense
of it. Oh
I thought, probably
some archaeo-
logical thing.
And didn’t give it another
thought until mid-
afternoon, when
my other brother sent
around the link. Ivory-billed
Woodpecker Rediscovered.

I would like to
be able to say that I
got up then & wandered
outside to listen
to the birdsong, aware
suddenly of all the notes
inaudible to the human ear.
Perhaps I did sit
a little straighter
in my chair. I kept reading
e-mail, & at some point
I found myself shaking
with silent sobs. I wrote
in my blog. I grabbed
a beer from the fridge.

The next day when
I played that phone
message for
the third time, it was
perfectly comprehensible.
The Ivory-billed. What else
have I failed to hear because
I was trying too hard
to fill some blank that
was never really blank?
I’m off to
a cousin’s wedding
& for once I’m not
thinking gloomily about
what world their likely kids
will find themselves in.
All might
not yet
be lost. It’s raining,
it’s April, &
the goddamn birds
are singing like
there’s no tomorrow.

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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